I received a phone call today that went something like this. I've had these before, but this time I had some spare time to play. This is the best I can remember, the real phone call went on for nearly 15 minutes, and there was a lot more going around in circles!
(Indian) Voice: Good afternoon sir, may I speak with Mr Bootchernaan? [those who know me will recognise my name in there somewhere!]
Me: What about?
Voice: I am calling from Microsoft, and we have detected that your computer is infected with viruses from the information it is sending to us
Voice: yes sir, you computer is infected with viruses and trojans and ...
Me: how do you know this?
Voice: your computer sends us information...
Voice: From the applications installed on Microsoft Windows
Me: Windows? Are you sure?
Voice: Yes sir, your computer sends us logs and it is infected with viruses and trojans and you need to...
Me: Hang on, I'm not running Windows
Voice: What are you running?
Me: You tell me, my computer contacted you.
Voice: [pause] I know that you have a Mac.
Me: Do you?
Voice: Yes sir, you have a Mac.
Me: Are you sure?
Voice: Yes sir, I am sure.
Me: Are you 100% sure?
Voice: What are you running?
Me: You tell me, my computer is contacting you so you should know what I am running
Voice: Your computer is infected.
Me: How do you know?
Voice: [notice the change of tack here] Because I installed viruses on it.
Voice: I hacked into it.
Me: You hacked in? [never heard that one before!]
Voice: Yes sir, I hacked into your system.
Me: oRly? [one eyebrow up] How did you get passed my firewall?
Voice: [pause] Hackers can get passed any firewall and into any system.
Me: You hacked into my system?
Me: How? What did you install?
Voice: I installed a virus.
Me: On windows?
Me: I'm not running windows, or Mac
Voice: You said you were running Mac.
Me: No you said I was running Mac.
Voice: No, I said I know you have a Mac, not that you are running Mac.
Me: Right. [struggling to contain the laughter]. What country are you calling from?
Me: No you're not, what country are you calling from?
Voice: Victoria [pause] Australia.
Me: No seriously, where are you calling from? I know you're not in Australia.
Voice: I have an Indian accent, but I am working in Melbourne.
Me: Who for?
Me: What Pharmacy.
Voice: [change of tack #2] Do you want to buy some [mumbled]
Me: I beg your pardon?
Voice: Do you want to buy some condoms?
Me: [can't contain the laughter anymore] no thanks, I'm right [damn why couldn't I think of something funnier!]
Voice: Would you like to buy some [the little blue pill, to keep away the searches I'll refer to it as V.]?
Me: No thanks! I don't need it.
Voice: It will help you be more satisfied.
Me: I hope I don't need to use it for at least 30 years
Voice: [pause] 30 years? Did you know men as young as 18 use V?
Me: No, I find that hard to believe.
Voice: [pause - I think he's running out of things to say]
Me: What's a computer company doing selling condoms and V?
Voice: Forget about the computer, I'm not talking about the computer anymore.
Me: But you were talking about computers. If I believed you, how you change the topic to a Pharmacy?
Voice: I said I am not talking about the computer anymore.
Me: Yes, but you were 5 minutes ago. What if I believed you, how would you sell me something? [I assume by directing me to a website that installs nastyware!]
Voice: We just do that to get your attention, we say anything that might get your attention.
Me: Right, so tell me really, where are you calling from?
Voice: I am calling from Melbourne
Me: No you're not. I know you're not in Australia.
Voice: Yes, we use skype [probably referring to the "overseas" message on Caller ID]
Me: So what company in Melbourne?
Me: [what, there's only one?] What's the name?
Me: I beg your pardon? Could you spell that?
Me: Oh, Apollo. So if you're really from a company in Melbourne, you would have a registered business number. What's your ABN?
Voice: [pause] 03 [pause] 9018 2436 [sounds like a phone number! I put it into the ABN search but of course it's a fake]
[ok that's as much lies as I want to hear, time to ask some better questions]
Me: So why do you do this? Do you get paid well or just a little bit?
Voice: The pay is good.
Me: Are you paid per hour, or on commission?
Voice: On commission.
Me: Then why haven't you hung up on me? Are you not allowed to hang up?
Voice: You can hang up.
Me: I know I can hang up, why don't you hang up?
Voice: [something about buying condoms again]
Me: seriously, why don't you get a job in a Dell call centre or for some company that does some real technical support?
Voice: We just make the calls we are told to make by our boss.
Me: Don't you think it's bad karma?
Voice: No, we're not doing anything illegal. The company is based in the US, and the call centre is here in... [I swear I could hear him think "India"] Australia. We just do the job we're told to.
Me: Why? Why don't you work somewhere else?
Voice: They pay is very good, it helps support my family [who knows how true that is!]
[this was reaching the 15 minute mark, and I had kids to attend to so I had to go]
Me: Well, I'm sorry but I have to go.
Voice: OK sir.
Me: I hope you'll think about where you're working.
Voice: I will, sir. [yeah right]
And that was it. I would have gone longer but I had to watch the kids. I don't really care if he thinks about it or not, but it was a bit of fun. Especially to hear him struggle when I pushed for details about my computer.
The sad thing is, so many people would be taken in by those first few lines...
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