02 December 2011

The helpful man from Windows

We had just had lunch and I had had a glass of wine (but it was a small one) when the phone rang.   After the customary period of silence (during which the automatic dialer forwards the call to a real person), we were greeted by a helpful sounding gentleman.  He said he was calling from "Windows" because they had detected we had a problem with our computer.   He even knew our name (scary).
Given the sub-continent accent, the poor quality of the phone line and the highly improbable scenario of anyone from Microsoft actually volunteering to help anyone (and certainly not for free) - plus the fact that this scam has been around for a long time! - I was tempted to hang up.   But perhaps the wine kicked in, and I remembered that my aunt (who is well into her 80s) had told us she had received a similar call and had quite a lengthy discussion with the caller before she revealed that she didn't have a computer at all!
So I informed the caller that, yes, we were in fact having problems with the computer and I was glad that help was now at hand.  I offered a credit card number, but no, this wasn't necessary.  However, he wanted me to turn the computer on.  I said that I was having difficulty getting it to boot up (stretching the truth a little, since the reason it wasn't booting was that I hadn't turned it on!), and I was so glad that he was here to help.  He offered various suggestions, all with the objective in mind of giving him remote access to the computer and hence the ability to take control of it.   We spent a little time to-ing and fro-ing about my worries that I had a virus and  I wondered how long this would last.  His tenaciousness was greater than mine, and I gave up before he did and finally told him that we were wasting each other's time.  I think this may have come as something of a surprise to him, which perhaps says something for the naivety of the people who get involved in assisting with these scams.

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