I have a game that I play if I ever have a day off work. I torment cold callers. I have a range of things to amuse me, such as acting like every word out of their mouth is monumentally confusing and I simply don’t understand, or I pretend to cry when they ask for Mr Canfield – that would be my father who has never lived in Yorkshire and has been dead since 1990, sometimes I just swear until they hang up.
My favourite people to torment are the people who call from “the Microsoft”. Generally these scum-sucking twathats call from some “official” offshoot of “the Microsoft”, stating that my computer is sending error messages to their server and that they are here to help.
Usually I just tie them in knots by asking whether I’ve been hacked (am I being remotely controlled), whether I’m infected with spyware or whether I have a virus, and usually I just get “yes” as an answer. Then I pick them to bits.
Today, since I was bored, I decided to see how long I could keep them on the phone. My current best was three minutes. They do not have much patience for the likes of me.
I do this because these people are horrible scam artists and if I hadn’t warned my mother to hang up on them and tell them to go to hell (actually I asked her to promise to say the words “ooooh, that’ll be because of all the porn I’ve downloaded. I’m 72, you know.”) they’d probably have her bank details and she’d be in a corner crying that her computer was broken. It’s mean, picking on people who don’t understand computers. My mother once got concerned that she’d deleted the internet when she deleted her Hotmail account.
Anyway, the conversation when like this:
Scam Artist: Hello ma’am, I’m calling from the Microsoft to tell you that your computer is sending alerts to our server.
Me: You’re calling from where?
Scam Artist: The Microsoft. Ma’am, your computer is heavily infected.
Me: Ooooh, that sounds bad. What do I do?
Scam Artist: Ma’am, we’re here to help. Now, if you could just go to your computer and get online…
Me: But… how is it sending you alerts when I’m not online?
Scam Artist: It’s very complicated, ma’am.
Me: Yes, but how? If it’s not online, it can’t send anything to anywhere, much less to your server.
Scam Artist: It’s very complicated, but your computer is sending alerts. Now, could you please get online?
Me: But – I don’t get it. What are you going to do? You’re not going to make it worse, are you?
Scam Artist: No, ma’am. If you agree to our help, then I will put you through to a senior technician who will take your bank details and take remote control of your computer in order to get rid of the problem.
Me: And what kind of problem is it?
Scam Artist: Your computer is sending alerts to our server. Now, would you please get online?
Me: But what kind of alerts? And how is it sending them if it’s not online?
Scam Artist: Our senior technician will help you.
Me: Ok, I’m done pretending. This is so much bollocks. You are an idiot. Your tone is insultingly patronising and you really need to work on that. When you’re trying to scam a person out of a lot of money in solving a fictional problem, you should be incredibly kind and reassuring and not talk to them like a piece of shit. Also, your script needs revision, you’re a fucking idiot and I know more about computers than you. It can’t send alerts if it’s not online, and FYI, my computer is online, I’m sat at it now, and that really undermines your credibility. And personally, I think you are a scamming piece of shit and you should go home and kill yourself because preying on people who don’t understand computers is fucking cruel. Go on, go home and kill yourself right now!
At this point, feeling incredibly smug, I hung up.
A minute later, the phone rang again.
Scam Artist: Ma’am, you think you’re very smart, don’t you?
Me: Yes, I’m incredibly smart.
Scam Artist: You think you’re really smart. Well, you’re not. You’re an asshole. AN ASSHOLE!
Then the bastard hung up before I could get the last word. He is an asshole. AN ASSHOLE!