Senior citizen regrets clicking on 'pop-up' window

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

SURPRISE, Ariz. --  A Surprise woman thought she was doing herself a favor when she clicked on a pop-up window for help. But she now says she realizes that it was a mistake.

Diane Gladowski is a senior citizen who does things more traditionally, like reading the newspaper.

Mention Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and Gladowski will be the first to tell you she's not really into that kind of stuff.  "Well, I don't really use the computer that much and that's probably where my problem is," she told 3 On Your Side.

Gladowski actually does have a computer but she basically uses it to check emails and that's about it. And that's exactly what Gladowski was doing recently when one of those pesky "pop-up ads" showed up on her computer screen.

Gladowski says, "And, I kept trying to get rid of it and I thought maybe if I shut down my computer, I'll get rid of it, but it wouldn't allow me to do that either."

The pop-up indicated Gladowski's computer was possibly infected and if she clicked on the pop-up link, entered some personal information, and  put in her credit card number. then technicians might get her computer to run faster.

So, Gladowski did, and a technician with a thick foreign accent later called and asked Gladowski to click specific buttons on her keyboard which would allow him access into her computer remotely.  She agreed. "It was like all of the sudden my mouse was moving all around on my computer and I'm not even touching it, and I thought, well, this is kind of different."

Gladowski says the so-called technician was in her computer remotely for hours doing who knows what.  And that's when she called her son. "And he said, Mom, you have been scammed, big time."

Her son told her to unplug the computer and take it a legitimate repair shop where it could be cleaned of any viruses and to prevent anyone else from accessing her computer remotely again.

She did.  However, she warns other computer users to not fall for what she did.  "Well, I've learned to never believe anything that comes on the computer other than what you want to get into," she says.

Gladowski went on to say, "And my son made it very clear to me.  Don't you ever open another pop-up."

That's good advice. In the meantime, Gladowski's credit card was charged nearly $300 for that cleaning the foreign computer technician claimed he did. However, she disputed the charged and her credit card company refunded her money.

As a precautionary measure, she also changed all of her credit card accounts as well as her passwords just to ensure her computer and her personal information won't be compromised later.