As a general rule, there is something immensely enjoyable about scamming a scammer. Or at least playing along. And, much like a soft drink before the sugar substitutes took over the world, the act of scolding said scammer is delightful and refreshing, especially when you get to spend those precious moments with the Windows Technical Support scammers. (Though there is no real sense of accomplishment. Empty calories, yes, but still oddly satisfying.)
And here’s why it’s so great: even when they are found out, they seem to have a nearly pathological need to continue the conversation – either in trying to convince you that there is still something wrong with your computer, or in owning up to the scam and (often colorfully) informing you that you are a loser, that your parentage is questionable and your computer is STILL infected. And in spite of all this, they will continue to offer assistance.
Somehow, the gratification in provoking someone so tenacious in their goal is worth the wasted time.
The first thing you should know is that if you’re being contacted by Windows or Microsoft Technical support on an issue you have NOT initiated yourself, do NOT be fooled. It is in your best interest, as Microsoft suggests, to simply hang up the phone.
I’ve been called several times in the last 4 or 5 months. The first few times or so, I simply hung up. The last couple of times, though, I played along briefly. Unfortunately for me, I’m not all that good at deception, so my little strategy didn’t last much longer than the first 8 seconds of the conversation. I go from playing along to scolding pretty quickly.
“TECHNICAL SUPPORT”: Hello ma’am, this is The Windows Technical Support calling you on this day about your Windows computer on which we have detected several problems, OK?
ME: Really. Oh, dear.
“TECHNICAL SUPPORT”: Yes, ma’am, it is viruses, OK?
ME: OK. So, I’m guessing you want me to download some random software so that you can log onto my computer to fix all the viruses.
ME: And you probably want a credit card number to pay for this service?
ME: And you really expect me to let you log onto my computer?
ME: You know, you folks really ought to find another scam. Don’t you have something better to do?
“TECHNICAL SUPPORT”: I will call you again and again and again. <—Yes, she really said that.
ME: (Cheerfully) Well, that’s good – as long as it gives you something to do.
“TECHNICAL SUPPORT”: We have detected many problem reports that you have sent.
ME: Hm, I thought we were done.
“TECHNICAL SUPPORT”: Your computer will be broken and slow and like that until you allow my help, OK?
(Broken AND slow.)
ME: I see…. Well, it seems to be working fine. And I’m bored with this conversation. So, I think we’re done now.
“TECHNICAL SUPPORT”: Your computer and your Windows pc will be broken.
(Both of them?)
ME: That’s ok. I’m a technician.
“TECHNICAL SUPPORT”: You are not if you don’t delete the viruses and like that, OK?
ME: I beg to differ. I’m going to hang up now. Have a nice day, OK?
“TECHNICAL SUPPORT”: Thank you.
To quote Tony Shaloub in Galaxy Quest: It’s the simple things in life you treasure.
Yes, yes it is.