Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Computer Scam Retorts

If you have a computer, odds are good you've gotten calls from scammers who want to "fix" the problem you didn't even know you had.

My computer, my cat Jim-Bob
A couple of weeks ago, I  got a call from some guy with a really heavy accent who wanted to help me with  my computer. Between the static in the phone line (which happens just about every time it rains) and his heavy accent, I never could understand what his name was—but I was pretty sure he was a scammer. You know the type—the ones who call to tell you that they "detected a problem" with your "Windows computer." 

But I didn't let him get that far. I wanted to know what company he worked for. It was something like "Rep Assist-something" or it might have been "Rep Asset-something"or maybe "Rat's Ass-something." Anyhow, I asked him what his company's website URL was. He tried to oblige me.

Between his thick accent and my deliberate mistakes as I slowly and laboriousy "attempted" to type the URL (while saying the letters I thought he said out loud and being corrected by him because I was saying the wrong ones), I wasn't able to get "your rep web assist (dot) com" (or something) and finally (in an exasperated voice after letting him know that I got "Rep Assist at Amazon") exclaimed, "There must be something wrong with my computer!" A moment of silence ensued. Then he hung up.

That was the fastest a scammer has ever hung up on me. Usually I can keep them going for a while. 

Sometimes I pretend I have to turn on my computer—which of course takes a while. And I push a bunch of button on the phone which makes little beeping noises for him. One guy had the nerve to tell me to stop doing that, and I had to insist this was how I started my computer. Then I have to put in the password which I spell out loud as I type it in: "S-u-p-e-r-c-a-l-i-f-r-a-g-i-l-i-s-t-i-c—Uh, oh! I think I left something out. Let me start again."

I kind of enjoy the Windows scam, wherein my "Windows computer" has gotten a virus or something, and the scammer will help me remove it. I try to drag the scammer out for a while (see password in previous paragraph), as he tells me to do such-and-such. One was flustered that I couldn't find a particular key, although he painstakingly described where it was on my keyboard. But I kept insisting it wasn't there. I knew it was't there because a Mac keyboard is different from a Windows keyboard, but it never occured to him I was using a Mac. I'm not the only Mac user who does this. Here's a pretty good YouTube video of a Mac user dealing with a Windows scammer: 

Recently I got a heavily accented computer scammer to hang up on me in less than 5 minutes! He didn't attempt to try my last name but asked if I was Miz Reee-beh-kuh and if I was the prime computer user. I agreed. That's when he told me they'd gotten reports of my computer downloading malicious downloads. 
Me:" Oh no! What's the name of these malicious downloads!"
He couldn't give me an answer. 
Me: "But if you know my computer has downloaded malicious downloads, you should certainly know the name of them! What are they called?"
I couldn't understand all he said next, but something to the effect that if I would turn on my computer, he would walk me through how to get rid of the malicious stuff.
Him (obviously reading from a script): "Now if you would step in front of your computer—"
Me: "Step in front of my computer? I don't understand!"
He repeated himself—
"Now if you would step in front of your computer—" and I cut him off again.
Me: "I have to step in front of my computer?"
Him: "Yes, and then—"
Me: "But I'm sitting in front of if. I don't understand what you're asking. Do you want me to get up and do something like an Irish step dance?"
Silence (well, except for all the other scammers in the room where he was). Then he hung up.

It was just as well. I can't Irish step dance. But if you want to see step-dancing, here's a video:


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