Tuesday 17 June 2014

Technical support scam part 5

Sam called again. A glutton for punishment.

He sent me to via the run box. I reported that Explorer couldn't find it. So he said "Have you got the power on?" I said yes, otherwise I wouldn't see anything, would I? So he suggested that I switch on all the power switches, so I did that, and we tried Still no luck. So he suggested I reboot, and I did that.

Then we went to, but I typed in, silly me. And that led to a page that offered me £80 if I took their survey. Well, that sounds really good, but Sam didn't want me to do it, I don't know why. So then he talked me through going to the real, but at the point where it wanted to download their software and install it on my computer ... it rebooted. Sigh.

Sam thinks that I have a hardware problem, and since his company (which he says is Microsoft) only deals with software .... and then the phone went dead, and I thought "He's given up".

But no. He called again. "Do you have skype?" he asked. "What?" "Do you have skype?" "What's skype?" I asked. "Oh".

So then there was a long pause at his end.

And then he brought up the library idea again. And he asked me for their phone number.


Yesterday, while I was out, I got a phone call. This rang twice, then hung up. So I called the number back. Bad idea! It was an 0843 number, which means I pay heavily for the privilege of calling them. I got a recorded message, then the Minute Waltz, and then I realised what this was all about, so I hung up. The scam is, they call, you call back, and they earn a few pence per minute for as long as you're willing to hold on.

So I gave Sam that 0843 number.

He also asked for my email address, so I chose one of the spams in my mailbox, and gave him the spammer's address.

He called back quite quickly. "It's an invalid number." I guess 0843 numbers can't be called from outside the UK. Sam says he's calling from the USA. I suggested that I call them and see if it's working. He thought that was a good idea, and said he'd call me back in five minutes. So I made an imaginary call to the same number, and it worked fine.

I used Google. Sure enough, you can't call an 0843 number from outside the UK So I told Sam this. Also, realising that Sam was now using skype to talk to me, I told him that it's a very bad line, could he call me back on a better line?

So he did. And now he came up with the idea of connecting my other (imaginary) computer to the internet. Good idea, I enthused, how do I do that.

 A lesser being would have quailed at the thought of talking a rather stupid user (me) through the process of connecting a computer to the internet. But Sam is made of strong stuff. He didn't quail at all.

But then, when I asked him which wire to connect to what, he quailed. He asked me if I had a neighbour who could help. No, I don't. No good neighbours? Yes, good neighbours, but they aren't computer experts.

So then the line went bad again, so I got him to call me again. Three times.

Then I raised the idea of using the library again, but instead of him calling me at the library, which we've now discovered doesn't work, I suggested that I call him. "But," he said, "that would cost 5.5p per minute. "Well, I said, "that means if it takes ten minutes, that's only 50p".

"It would cost $10," he said. "Well, that sounds good to me. I spend $10 and I get the $105 dollars from you."  "Alright," he said, "I'll give you my number."

And then he hung up.

Conversation length - one hour.


  1. These are fabulous!! I've had so many of these calls lately, I'm now actually dying to get another one so that I can play Cybernovice with them!! Laughed so hard my stomach hurts. Thank you!! You should write a book.