Waste the time of Microsoft Phone Scammers (and have fun in the process)

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.

“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.”
“What?”

(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”.

CLICK.
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.

Lead Image: Greg Rubenstein

About the author

Alex Kidman is a multi-award winning Australian technology writer, former editor at Gizmodo, CNET, GameSpot, ZDNet, PC Mag, APC, Finder and as a contributor to the ABC, SMH, AFR, Courier Mail, GadgetGuy, PC & Tech Authority, Atomic and many more. He's been writing professionally since 1998, and his passions include technology, social issues, education, retro gaming and professional wrestling.

Comments

  1. I had the same thing happen a few years back. I agreed to everything he said, and was noting the instructions in my head, while playing a really frustrating level of Angry Birds. After he ran through a whole heap of “diagnostic” steps (that really were me opening a vpn tunnel to them) I thought I would have some fun. I told them, that while they had tried to gain access to me, I had traced their call, because I work for the AFP, and I was aware of what they were doing. They denied it as much as they could, so I just told them I had a Mac. He went to get their “supervisor” – all I heard was the connection terminate

  2. I once had one on the phone for 45 minutes by pretending I was on Windows 3.11 for Workgroups.
    He was somewhat confused by my trying to start Trumpet WinSock, so he “elevated” me to second level support.
    The second guy hang up shortly after I told him I’d started up Netscape Navigator.

  3. I know this is an old article but I had one of these 6 months ago from “Telstra” (Australia’s largest telco/ISP) and I strung her along for probably about 15 minutes with a whole variety of “problems” my computer was having, and “entering” her commands into the command prompt etc. etc., and then finally I told her I had a Mac after all. Apparently that’s not cool. She sprouted the most colourful language I have ever heard from a Telstra technician!

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