07 September, 2012

Your call may be recorded…

I had yet another one of those spam ’phone calls this afternoon saying, “We have found a problem with your Windows computer.”  Since I had some time on my hands, I decided to have some fun with him.

It’s not the first time I’ve strung one of them along like this, but it’s the first time I’ve recorded it, inspired by Danie and Mark’s experience HERE.

My reasons for doing this are a little deeper than just trying to troll a scammer for fun.  Being an IT tutor, I’m asked about these scams regularly so I was interested to know the specific nature of the scam.  So I started off playing innocent and going along with all his instructions.  The number he quotes at about 8:12 will appear on just about any Windows Vista computer.  I switched gears about half way through and tried my best to make it clear to him that I knew it was a complete con, but he didn’t take the hint.

Most of these callers are very insistent that they are giving you good advice, and “Charlie’s” exasperation with me at 25:38 suggests that these callers may be trained to believe what they are saying.  At that point, I completely drop the act and make it clear to him that under no circumstances will I install the remote access software he wants me to install.  I don’t know what their intentions would have been if I had installed it, but if a stranger wants remote access to your computer, you know they’re up to no good.

I don’t expect anyone to suffer through the whole 35 minutes of this, but if you’ve ever wondered what their act is, this will give you an idea.

I would also like to make it clear that I was not doing this just for the sake of tormenting the person on the other end of the ’phone.  As I say to him at the end of the call, I understand that everyone needs to make a living and that I don’t take or intend any of this personally.  In fact, I am planning a future post on how to make help-desk calls easier for both sides.  Mind you, when someone has called you out on the scam, attack is not the best form of defence.

I had to go out after that, but they actually called back an hour later.  This time, my dearest took the call and she has a different, and completely true, method of dealing with them.

 - We have detected a problem with your Windows computer.
“Really?  I use a Mac.”
 - Are you not using a Windows computer?
“What part of ‘I use a Mac,’ did you not understand?”
 - beep… beep... beep...


  1. This doesn't make any sense. Even when you seem to be going along with it he gets very defensive very quickly. He ignores basic questions that anybody gullible enough to believe him might ask. This should immediately tell everybody that something is wrong.

    This also seems like a horribly inefficient way to scam people. In an 8 hour day you could get maybe 10 people at best.

    And is he calling you ma'am?

    1. He was. I actually get that a bit - I guess I sound a bit feminine on the phone. That doesn't bother me nearly as much as the rest of it.