I just received another one of “those” calls.
Yes. I know it’s not really Microsoft calling about some virus in my computer. I know this because I’m just a teeny bit tech savvy and a tiny bit jaded after my half century on this planet.
But I play along anyway. It’s entertaining. I have a little time on my hands. And it keeps him on the phone for a bit longer, preventing him from scamming someone else.
“I’m calling from Microsoft because we have been alerted that your computer is infected with a malicious virus.”
“Oh, God. No! This is the second time this year!”
“Well, I’m calling to help you fix the problem.”
“Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You don’t know how grateful I am.”
“It’s all right ma’am. We’re going to fix this. Ma’am? Are you near you computer?”
“Yes! Please help me. Just tell me what to do!”
We have a bit of back and forth as I pretend to open my computer. Turn on my computer. Oops. The battery is low. I have to plug it in. Now, where’s that cord?
‘So explain to me how this happened…”
He gives some explanation of which I understand about every 3 words. Not because I’m hard of hearing but because his accent is so thick. Meanwhile, I’m looking up his phone number through a reverse-phone-look-up site. He’s calling from China. His accent sounds like he’s from somewhere else. And his name is Zach Martin. From Miami, Floor-eee-DUH. (Emphasis on the DUH.)
We talk a little more as I ask him questions, making sure he’s legit. He plays along and gives me some phony company name, the Floor-eee-DUH address and phone number. I pretend to believe him.
“Okay. It’s up and running. What do I do?”
But as he tries to get me to press keys, I interrupt him from time to time.
“How could this happen?” and “I’m so careful!” and “What is this world coming to?!?!?”
I then pretend to cry. Sniffles, at first. But then I begin to boo-hoo. His voice softens.
“I can’t believe this is happening to me,” I sob, “I-I-I-I’m so careful. Oh, the humanity!”
“Let me get my manager.”
A man with a slightly more decipherable accent gets on the line.
“Ma’am? Are you okay?”
I sniffle and snuffle, trying to suppress any laughter. I’m running out of material. I blow my nose, stalling, trying to figure out what to do next.
“No!” I shout into phone. “I’m not okay. My computer has been hacked by evil bastards who have nothing better to do than to prey on innocent people. I’m a good person. I volunteer. I look out for my neighbors. I eat right and exercise. I take my vitamins. I open doors for old ladies. Why would someone DO THIS TO ME?!?”
“I understand ma’am. It can be scary. But we’re here to help you.”
“I know you are. And I’m so very grateful. You are so kind. But I just can’t help but think of the horrible, hateful jerks who prey on the innocent. If they would just apply their considerable skills to doing good in the world just imagine what could be accomplished. Teach children programming skills. Help companies keep online information safe. Keep spam out of my inbox. Heck. Even cure cancer or solve world hunger. Do you think that could happen? Get the evil hackers to cure cancer?”
They know I’m onto them.
Ah, well. Hopefully, I kept them on the phone long enough to save another less-in-the-know soul from falling for their shenanigans.