Friday, September 14, 2012

Swindler's List

'Are you saying I have worms?'
Since this month began I’ve received a telephone call pretty much every day at about 6pm. It is always from India, and the caller either works for Microsoft (to be exact, the Windows Operating System Support  Team),  or is concerned with a compensation claim I’m apparently making without knowing it. Either way, his aim is to scam me, of course. The first type of caller claims to have identified a worm on my computer which will need to be removed with his help. The second type – well his effort at deception is so hopeless I’ve never stayed on the line long enough to find out what he claims. I assume he wants my bank details so he can send me money or something.

On one level these calls are very annoying. How did these con men get my number? (Well, maybe by looking in the phone book…). And just how gullible do they think I am? But on another, less edifying level, I’m almost starting to enjoy them . There is something weirdly empowering about not being taken in by a swindler. One is completely at liberty to string them along, hurl abuse at them or twist them in knots. I read of one person who handled the Microsoft scammers by claiming that he was working for Microsoft himself.  “Son, have you opened your heart to Jeezus?”  -  that might be another good repost.  Probably the wise thing to do is put the phone down at once, but the temptation to indulge in a little catharsis is not always easy to pass up.

This afternoon I intend to pick up the receiver claiming to be a market research organisation. “Answer a few simple lifestyle questions and you could win a cruise!” I shall say. Then we’ll see who hangs up on whom.

'No, I am not the bill payer.'

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