Tuesday 17 June 2014

Technical support scam part 4

They're back!

It's 1:36, his name is Sam, and he doesn't press the mic-silent key when he talks to his techie. I don't recognise the language he's using, so it isn't European.

He has a new scam. He's offering to refund me the $99 that I paid! Actually, he's offering $105. It seems that their company wasn't allowed to operate in the UK, so they have to give all the money back. But first ... I have to fill in a form.

So he sends me to www. That's the same place the other guys used, and I give Sam the same response. My computer, I tell him, just rebooted. And that, of course, is just the start of the fun.

We try, and I reboot. again, this time by typing it into the Internet Explorer box. Reboot. Then a new one. He talks me through bringing up a run box, then typing "shutdown-t"

Oops. I feel sure that he should have said "shutdown -t", he left out the space. So I tell him the Windows message "Wnidows cannot find shutdown-t". He doesn't twig that he made this mistake, so we proceed.

"You have a loose power connection" he says. Sure enough, when I tug hard on the power cable it comes loose. Result! So I reconnect it, and the computer reboots and we go to again and the computer reboots again.

 Then we do a long riff on "the internet isn't working". We cycled the power on my router, and then he asked me to check if the internet was working. "How do I do that?" I asked. "Check your email," he said.

Well, obviously, checking my email took me quite a long time, but he was ever so patient, and when I eventually got back to him, he was game for more.

So then he took me to again, but I typed a comma instead of a dot, so that didn't work. When he eventually worked out what I'd done, he talked me through doing it again, but this time I type, and we got the message that it didn't exist. So when he worked out what I'd done wrong, he told me to type in or at least that's what I thought he said, but apparently he'd meant, and when we sorted that out, the computer rebooted.

So Sam passed me over to Max.

Max sounded a lot more knowledgable, and talked me through going to, and this time it worked, or at least it worked until he asked me to click the button that downloads the ammyy software, at which point, I rebooted.

So he passed me back to Sam.

Sam asked me if I have another computer. Yes, I do. Sam is happy at this news, and asks me to switch it on. So I do. I give him a minute, and then report that it's on. So he tells me to press windows-R. So I do, but as the other computer is downstairs from the phone, this all takes a while.

So then I'm told to type "www.". So I run downstairs and do that, then back upstairs. Then "". So I run downstairs, do that, and run upstairs. "Then click on OK". So I run downstairs, do that, and run upstairs. He tells me to click on the button that installs ammyy software. I forgot to tell him that this particular imaginary computer isn't connected to the internet. I think it's time to tell him.

But he has other ideas. He's really controlling this conversation, and when I tell him that "Can't find the computer at" he wants me to make sure that all the power switches are turned on. So, of course, I run downstairs and turn them off.

So I tell him that I've just turned off all the power, and we have a little riff on whether he said "on" or "off", and he apologises if he said the wrong thing, and I apologise that it was probably me hearing him wrong. And he sends me back downstairs to turn them on.

So I do that. And then he wants me to check my email on that computer. "But I can't", I say. "Why not?" he asks. and then I drop my bombshell. "Because that computer doesn't have internet."

I hear what might well be a rude word in his language. I don't know. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he said "Bother".

"I told you to use the internet on another computer," he says. "No," I reply, " you asked me if I have another computer, and I do, you didn't say anything about the internet." And he says "Bother" again, or whatever it was.

So then we went back to using the original computer. We tried "", but that caused a reboot. And we tried "".

That popped up a red box, that said "Do not accept help from unknown callers". Wise advice. I put that to Sam, and he said that he isn't an unknown caller, he's from the "Windows technical department". "Is that part of Microsoft?" I asked. Yes it is. Definitely. Part of Microsoft. So I feel reassured. And I clicked on the button that should install the Showmypc software, and we had ourselves a reboot.

Then Sam wanted to call me back tomorrow. I wasn't keen on this, and wanted to complete it today. So I suggested that I pop down to my local library, and use their computer. "It's only five minutes away," I say, "and I can call you back from there."

I wonder how library computers are protected from this sort of scam?

No, says Sam, we can't use the library computer, and then he gave me some flannel about it being a different internet address, and he wants to call me back tomorrow.  There's a form I have to fill in.

"So to do that I need to go to your web site?" "Yes". "But every time I go to one of your web sites, my computer reboots, why is that?" Sam  doesn't know. He thinks there's something wrong with my computer.

So I tell him that there's another way I can get a refund. "What's that," he asks. "I can ask Paypal to do a refund." He doesn't sound keen on this idea, because he needs to have his form filled in.

So it's now 15:18, and he's spent  more than an hour and a half entertaining me, and he wants to call back later today.

I can't imagine why.

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