A 72-year-old California man was desperate for a phone number for HP. He pays the printer maker $14.99 a month for tech support and wanted to speak to a real person for help, not chat online.
So in early February, the man searched the web for HP’s number, dialed the first one that popped up and ended up speaking to a real person.
The problem? The real person was a real crook.
Lesson 1: Don’t automatically trust a phone number that shows up on an internet search. It could be a fake.
The man at the center of this story is not being named because after he called the bogus number he thought was HP’s, he became entangled in a web of lies and a $717 fraud.
Though the victim is not being identified, here are a few things about him: He’s a Navy veteran who served two tours on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise off the coast of Vietnam during the war. He graduated from college on the GI Bill, defying the expectations of people who sold him short because of his blue-collar roots.
For a time he owned his own business. Now he’s retired and disabled. Health problems led to the amputation of some of his toes, and he no longer drives. That makes him more reliant on online shopping. He says he often buys things on Amazon using an Amazon-branded credit card.
Recently on Amazon he bought an HP printer. The purchase prompted him to seek tech support from HP to set up wireless printing.