I just kept a scammer on the phone for more than half an hour.
I knew how this was going to play out as soon as I answered the phone and was greeted by a gentleman who said in a thick Indian accent: Hello sir? This is Windows Technical Department. Your computer is causing many errors and I am calling to fix them for you. Are you in front of your computer?
I decided to play along (without actually doing anything he told me to) so I could see what he was going to try to pull on me. And I played dumb and slowed him down every chance I could.
First I am going to need you to look at your keyboard. In the lower left corner do you see a key labeled C-T-R-L? “Sure.” Okay, what is saying the key next to that? “It says ‘FN’.” Oh … well sir, the key beside that, are you seeing a Windows key? “Windows? I have windows on my screen…” No! No, sir, the key being on your keyboard, are you seeing a key that looks like a flag? “Sure.” Okay, sir, I need you to press that key and the ‘R’ key at the same time…
To make a long story short, he wanted me to:
- Press Windows-R (to bring up the ‘Run’ dialog) and enter “eventvwr”, then double-click “Custom Views”, click on “Administrative Events”, and be astonished by the numbers of errors it showed. Those sir are errors affecting your computer.
- Press Windows-R again and enter “www.livewindowssupport.us”, then download “TeamViewer Quick Support 5.0” to give him control over my computer. I completely stymied him here… “Dot US? Sorry, I typed dot USA… wait, is there a dot COM after that or before it? …” So he gave up and moved on to:
- Windows-R “www.456usa.com”, then click “Connect with Ammy Admin” to give him control that way. I tripped him up here, too. “Wait, is it USA or US? You just said dot US a minute ago. I’m getting a Yahoo window with a list of search results and Valentine’s Day ideas.”
He was really exasperated at this point, so he went back to trying to get me to download TeamViewer from www.livewindowssupport.us, so I played along. “Wait, I think it downloaded something,” I said, as I tended the steaks on the Foreman grill for dinner. “Where did it go? No, I don’t know where the download folder is… how do I get to it? Okay, I see the file…” Double left click on it! Double! Left! “Okay, now Norton is saying something about not being allowed to open the file.” I spent several minutes making up Norton error messages for him. Is there an OK button? Or Cancel? Click that. “Which one, OK or Cancel?” Just close it all down. “Do you mean shut down my computer?”
In the middle of his explanation I stopped him and asked how much this all was going to cost me. It is free, sir. Windows Technical Department is helping you to fix your problems for free. There may however be additional charge if software is found to be on your computer which requires a license. The Foreman grill timer reached 0 and the grill beeped loudly. “Wait, as soon as I clicked OK it set off an alarm,” I told the scammer. He sounded surprised: It did?
Finally, after I took him in circles for a while longer, he went in a direction I’ve never seen one of these scammers go before.
Sir, I need you to press your Windows key and R at the same time, and then type “google dot com”.
“Okay, got it, now what?”
I need you to type in the box, “video one”.
“The number one?”
No sir. Spelled out. V as in Victor. I as in Irene. D as in Doug. E as in Edward. O as in Olivia. Another O. N as in Nancy. E as in Edward.
“Is there a space?”
Yes, there is a space after “video”, sir. Now, at the top of the screen, are you seeing a link “Video One free porn movies?”
I brought the phone over for Jill to hear. “Free … what?”
The link at the top of your page. Do you see it?
“I see a link for a One Direction video…” I stalled him another minute this way, until finally he said:
Fuck you, sir.
“Uh, beg pardon?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you’re saying.”
“Do you want me to type that?”
Yes. Actually type instead, F-U-C-K me.
“I don’t understand. You called me because my computer has a problem –”
“– and I don’t know anything about it, and I’ve been doing everything you told me –”
“– and – hello?”
Mercifully, he finally hung up on me, and Jill and I got back to our steak dinner.