How To Listen To Your Gut (And What Happens When You Don’t)

a woman in a blue suit holding a laptop.

almost got scammed last week. The only thing that stopped me from handing my credit card over to troll was my sixth sense. Whether you call it gut, instinct, gut instinct, or body wisdom, she saved me.

Her voice popped up more than half a dozen times before I heeded her warning. Here’s the full story. Play along with and ask yourself how you would have handled it if you were on the hook.


I bought a new printer, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to get it to work. A quick Google search on my phone of “canon printer…” then Siri read my mind and suggested “customer support” and this little graphic.


Thanks, Siri, oh oracle of misinformation. Something seemed a little shady, but alas, I do not want to put any more energy into the printer debacle and so I dialed.

Red Flag #1: There was no Canon logo or any Canon identification whatsoever. I notice that, register it as odd, but push on.

The person on the other end of the call answered quickly, on the first or second ring and there was no phone tree. An actual human! Oh this was my lucky day.

Red Flag #2: They answered too quickly. I knew it was off, but #reframe as “lucky me!”. Ah, the downsides of all that coachy positivity :-).

The tech support guy was abrupt. Then he started complimenting me, “You really know your way around a computer! You’re so much better at this than other callers.”

Red Flag #3: I am not tech savvy. I was being played. Soon I was blushing, focusing on the compliment and distracted from what was really going on.

He asked me to download a piece of software to give him access to my screen. I paused, but, still riding high on his compliment, I went against my better judgement.

Red Flag #4: I downloaded his software onto my computer and gave him full access to my computer. I know better than to do something like this and yet, here I am. The ego stroking took my brain offline.

He ran his program. It looked like this:


He highlighted the part that said “Foreign Address” and said, “Ah, here’s the problem. You’ve been hacked. See this foreign address? Someone is trying to take over your network.”

Red Flag #5: Someone is trying to take over my network? That sobered me up. I’m being hacked? Hacked? Something didn’t seem right. I took a screenshot of the page because my gut told me I’d want a record of this.

He said that this wasn’t a problem, and he could send me over to his colleague who could fix my entire network in a couple hours, for a fee, then the printer would work.

Red Flag #6: Wait, what? Not a problem? Fee? He seemed simultaneously worried and “this is something I see all the time”, which seemed a little too casual. This is happening too quickly.  Something isn’t right.

And so I say, “Something doesn’t seem right. How do I know you actually work for Canon?”

He responded: “You called me.”

I said: “I found your number on the Internet and there was no Canon logo.”

He responded, “You called me. I’ll give you my employee number if that will make you feel better.” Pause. “Can I connect you with my colleague who can help you?”

Something wasn’t adding up. But sure, let’s see what the colleague had to say. I was transferred quickly and the colleague said he could fix it all in 2 hours and it would be $150. Would I like to give him a credit card?

Red Flag #7: I had been on the phone with these guys for less than 5 minutes, they’d installed software, moved quickly, been frustrated when I called their authenticity into question and now wanted my credit card and to take over my computer.

I went through the prior red flags I had observed and ignored. And then I hung up.

I put their phone number into my Google window on my laptop. The first site to come up was this one. The Internet misleads then confirms the misdeed. I’d been scammed (almost).

I felt dirty and icky, embarrassed and dumb. And vulnerable.

The lesson: My gut knew something was off, and was keeping track. I discounted those little red flags until the word “hacker” was said, then I my brain clicked back online. Emotions take our cognitive brain offline.

It happens to all of us.

Listen to your gut.

Gut instinct comes up in almost every one of my coaching sessions. It’s that sense of knowing. Knowing you’ve met your life partner. Knowing it’s time to leave your job. Knowing that the baby is coming. Knowing you’re meant for more.

If we’ve had a session together, you’ve experienced that feeling of knowing and it’s not brain-thinking, it’s body-knowing.

After all, your body has been there for you since the beginning. Body has seen what you’ve seen, been where you’ve been. Every last experience, body has been there with you. Body has learned the lessons with you, and pipes up when brain is heading down the wrong path.

When’s the last time your body piped up? Did you listen? Is there something that you’re working on right now? What does your body have to say about it?  I would love to hear about it: send me an email. Heed the wisdom of your body. I’m so glad I did.

PS: For more reading on body wisdom, try this classic: The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.

PPS: Once I called the real Canon tech support  the problem was easy to solve, as in reboot the router. Oy!

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