Those “we’ve detected a virus on your computer” calls are getting worse. The transcript below is how I handled a recent call from one of these scammers. I came up with the idea after I hung up on a similar call a few days earlier. I do not recommend that you try this, since I may well have broken some laws with the death threats. But I didn’t care. I am angry at how many people, most likely seniors who are anything but computer literate, are taken in by these scams everyday.
All the voices had an accent, most likely Middle Eastern or Indian. Here’s how it went:
The caller ID said “Private number.”
Caller (female voice): “Yes sir, I am calling from Microsoft. We have detected a virus on your computer and we need to access it to clean it for you. There is no charge for this service.”
Me: “But I’m with the people who put those viruses out there. We make a lot of money infecting people’s computers and then charging them to fix it. How do you make any money since you don’t charge them?”
Caller: “But sir, I am from Microsoft. It is a service we provide to people who use our operating systems.”
Me: “So you only help people who use Windows?”
Caller: “That is correct.”
Me: “And you have detected a virus on my computer?”
Caller: “Yes, that is correct.”
Me: “But we use Apple products. So how could we have a Microsoft virus?”
Caller: “Sir, I am going to transfer you to my supervisor.”
About a minute later, the “transfer” is complete.
New caller: “Hello sir. I understand you have a virus that we have detected?” (How fucking stupid are these people?)
Me: “Not really. I just wanted to keep you on the phone long enough to track your IP address. I have it now.”
Caller: “Our IP address?” (He really sounded confused.)
Me: “Yes, I am now able to track down your physical address. I see that you’re overseas. No problem, we have people there.”
Me: “Yes, we are a group of vigilantes who track down computer scammers like you. We will now kill you, everyone in your office and everyone you care about. It’s our anti-virus program.”
Caller: “I am going to report this to the authorities.”
Me: “In your country? Who do you think does the killing for us? Surely you must know the police in your country are as corrupt as you are.”
Caller: CLICK (A hang up.)
I don’t think it will stop them, but they will probably be looking over their shoulders for a few days. It’s the little things in life you treasure.
©2016 Steve Bryant – No portion may be copied, reprinted or broadcast in any medium without express written consent of the author.