Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

General • SCAM ALERT—Hijacking Computer Content and Files for Ransom

SACRAMENTO 9/15/16—We had heard about this scam sometime ago but now it has come personally to this writer. In the process of opening a very important email today, my computer suddenly froze. A notice came up stating; “This Site Not Available.” I tried restarting my PC and once again I was blocked from doing any work. Next I shut down my computer and re-started it. This time there was an advisory that my computer had been infected with a destructive virus which took possession of all information including my credit cards (I don’t have any credit cards) and to call this number to the Microsoft Technical Department for assistance.

The number given me was: 1-888-689-5643.  When I called, they said they would walk me through steps to regain use of my computer. I asked if this was free? “Yes,” I was assured.  Turns out that yes, the toll number was free. But the rest, I would quickly learn, would cost money. And yes, the ‘Mark,” as suckers are called by the carnival, would indeed take the bait to correct the virus problem which they had created in the first place for that very purpose.

The call was answered by “Microsoft Technicians.”  Next I was walked through a process to get out from under the hack, which consisted of several steps that popped up with code numbers to be filled in, the numbers they gave me. Then I asked if there was a charge for this. he casually said, yes. I asked How much?  He said, “A one time charge of 150 to 250 (in hundreds). I challenged that and he hung up on me.

The scam is, they literally hijack your information and files that you suddenly cannot access, then after the kidnap, they hold the computer and information for ransom. Until you pay up, your computer with its information is totally rendered useless and you cannot get back on again.

Fortunately I have grand kids in my house. One of them came in and managed to get me back on the air. This is why my platform for the presidency will be: “A kid in every home.”  It will be a landslide of senior citizen votes.

Beware of any such email interruptions and look for the number above, 1-888-689-5643. If you have a webmaster, contact him, or hopefully you have grand kids in the house who were raised in the world of technology. If not, recruit any kid.They all are computer savvy. You can also contact a college Computer Science Dept. They may be able to help.

Also, notify your local police department. I did that as well as contacting the FBI who have a division especially for dealing with internet scams. Whatever you do, do not agree to send them any money. Remember, they are the ones who put in that virus for that reason, to get money from you. If you do, they will keep finding extra charges before releasing your computer. Help spread the word.

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