How to lose $297 in three minutes

An Internet friend of mine (someone I have never met in person) just IM’d me and he’s aghast that there are people out there selling illegal copies of Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Vista.

He got an email: “Microsoft Office Enterprise and Vista Ultimate are ready to download now!”


OK, so this friend isn’t technical – he’s a painter an artist by trade.  But COME ON – you might as well be sending your money to Mr. Nguyem in Nigeria!

Folks this is a SCAM, SCAM, SCAM – do NOT fall for it.  Wait until the products are in CompUSA, or Best Buy or something, and go buy them there.

Here’s what my friend got:

Download links to both Office and Vista ISOs (You don’t know what an ISO is?  You’re already in trouble – so was he).

A “product key”

A “list of instructions for after you install, but before you reboot”

A “crack” program.

OK, afraid yet?  Think this might not be a valid offer?  It isn’t! (but to be fair, he didn’t actually know exactly what he was “getting” until he already paid for it.


So when he got stuck halfway through the install he asked for my help.  I remote-desktoped into his machine and looked… and disconnected.  I told him he was wasting his time (and mine) and to delete the crap he downloaded and write the $297 off to being naive (not to mention S-T-U-P-I-D).


He’s pissed at me right now – he wants to install the software anyway because he thinks he paid for something.  He did.  He paid someone to not only steal from him, but to waste his time, and the time of other people.  He probably paid for SpyWare and Trojans.  He paid for everything except Microsoft Word and Vista.