I got a call “from Microsoft Technical Support” this afternoon. It was fake (of course), but it allowed me to waste some of their time along the way, and have a little fun. As an added bonus, I discovered something about the ex-CEO of Microsoft that nobody else knew.
Image: Joi Ito
“Mr Kidman, I’m calling you from Microsoft regarding the viruses on your computer”
(sigh, I think. Then I realise that I’m doing a bunch of office-related tasks, and I DO have time to waste. Best thing to do is waste their time, because it reduces their profit)
“These files are corrupting your whole computer and the Internet”
I’d just like to formally apologise to the Internet.
“Can you switch on your computer?”
“Well, I could, but you’re calling to scam me”
“Very well. Turn on your computer now.”
“No, you’re calling to scam me”
“Yeah, but can you see a windows key”
“No, no I can’t. This is a Mac. I can see a little key with an Apple on it”
(technically a lie; I’m using the Microsoft Sculpted Keyboard because it’s great, but they’re not to know that)
“Can you see a start option?”
“No, this is a Mac.”
“Oh. I think the viruses on your computer must be very bad indeed”
“Or your routine is very bad indeed.”
(he then goes quiet for a second or two)
“Oh. The problems with your computer must be very very very bad. My supervisor Mr Bill Gates will call you back”.
There I left it, slightly bemused by the concept of getting a call from the ex-CEO of Microsoft.
Astonishingly, Mr Gates called back.
Although I’d never heard the trace of an Indian accent in his previous speeches before.
Maybe he’s changed.
Actually, he’s definitely changed.
How can I tell? Simply because this was a woman calling me.
As Mr Bill Gates.
I try not to giggle and start to run through the same routine, but sadly Mr Gates is wiser than his/her underling, and hangs up when I mention the Apple symbol.
Lessons to be learned:
1) It IS worth wasting the time of MS phone scammers if you have the time to spare (and can do something worthwhile in the meantime). That whole scam is built on the premise that they’ll sucker people into compromising their machines or their personal information or their bank accounts — possibly all three. The longer they spend wasting time on the phone to people who are wise to the scam, the less profit they make.
2) You can’t fool Bill Gates.