This weekend I took a call from a very nice lady in, I believe judging from her accent, India who offered to “help you with your computer”.
Well, that’s a technical inaccuracy. I didn’t take the call. My son was next to the handset so he answered it, couldn’t understand what was being said and handed it to me. Which is fair enough, I could only just understand the damn cold caller myself, and I have quite a bit of experience of Indian call centres.
Now, I had a call like this about 12 months ago, so I knew what to expect. But I was still annoyed by it.
The caller, who never gave me her name or stated who she was working for, started by wishing me Good Morning (it was the middle of the afternoon at the time) and informing me she was calling to help with the problem I’d been having on my computer. Here’s a paraphrasing of the rest of the conversation.
Me : “That’s excellent news. Only… er… Which computer? We have 4 you see. So which one are you calling about?”
Her : “I’m calling to help with your computer. If you could go to it and turn it on, then I can help.”
Me : “Yes, you said you could help, that’s great, but is it the Linux computer in the family room that my son uses to watch Minecraft videos on YouTube and do his homework, My wife’s laptop from work, which is maintained by them and we don’t have administrator access to, my personal laptop, which I recently did a clean install of Windows 8.1 on, or the netbook which just yesterday I wiped and did a clean install of Windows 7 starter on?”
Her : “Yes. That one. I’m calling to help with the problem. If you can just turn it on for me”
At this point I was beginning to wonder if there was a problem on the line. This woman, who clearly wanted to help me, was having trouble hearing me. She must have missed most of my answer and thought I only had one computer in the house. Okay, I mean, it’s a long way to India. And it sounded noisy where she was, too. Poor love. Oh well. Let’s press on.
Me : “Okay, but can you tell me what the problem is that you’re calling to help with? I have some experience of computers. I look after the IT at work, you see.”
Her : “Yes. It’s that problem I’m calling to help with.”
Me : “Which problem.”
Her : “The problem with the computer.”
Me : “Yes, but all my computers are fine.”
Her (sounding annoyed) : “But you have a problem and I’m calling to help. With your computer.”
Me : “But I don’t have a problem. I run a strong firewall and a very strict anti-virus and anti-spam policy. It’s what they advised us to do on the course.”
Her : “What course?”
Me : “The MSCE course.”
Her : “What course?”
Me : “Microsoft Certified Engineer course. That’s what I do. That’s my job.”
Her : “Oh. Right. Okay.”
At which point the line went dead. The bitch hung up on me.
But of course she did. The second she realised I might actually know what I was talking about, she gave up on her little scam. Okay, I’m not actually an MSCE, but I do know enough about computers to keep the four we have at home reasonably safe and clean. Not that this scam-artist was to know that.
Actually, the call I had last year went along the same lines, only it was a man and he was much more aggressive about it. He even went so far as to ask for my MSCE number to prove I really was one (which I’m not). In the end I hung up on him since he clearly wasn’t going to back down until he’d infected my machine.
Because that’s what they were after and that’s what annoys me about these type of people. If I hadn’t know what I was talking about. If I’d been elderly, say, they could well have talked and talked and scared me into switching on the PC and following their instructions. What they would have done is got me to open a web browser, go to a site they have set up, get me to download and install a dodgy piece of software that then either locks my PC until I pay them to release it, or infects my PC with key logger software to try and gain access to all my online accounts.
And of course, if this had of happened, it would have been my own fault for falling for the scam. In these situations, the law offers the poor computer user no protection, because the call centre is based on the other side of the world and the UK Government have no power of it.
The people who run these sweat shops and get workers to make these calls really do make me sick. And I’m today officially adding to the list.
What list? The list of people I’ll have… er… “dealt with” after I come to power. It’s getting quite long – but that’s for another post.