We can save your PC! They bellowed. Right.
Evidently one of my Windows machines was infected and I should listen to the oracle on the phone to save my pc's soul, er, files.
This was my lucky day! And for some lucky contestant on robophone Americans it was their crazy story of the week.
I had them on the phone for at least 15 minutes and it was fun. My wife and kids were laughing through most of it.
Listen, when you need a repair person, any repair person, they are nowhere to be found. So if a PC support person calls you totally out of the blue and you have nothing wrong with your pc, please just be a smidge curious what scam they are pulling. Just do not take these people seriously.
Here is a rough idea of our conversation:
Hello Mr. Brooks glad we caught you, your Windows PC is infected.
Me: okay, did it call you?
No sir, how could a PC do that? (I had to laugh at this one) Your windows PC is infected, they repeated.
Me: Really? Which one?
(Long pause while they searched their database for what to say next)
Your Windows computer
Me: Which one? (they seemed to not grasp my question)
Sir, you have a Windows Computer, yes?
Me: Yes I do, a whole bunch of them, which one called you? I hate when they look for new owners like that.(humor lost on my caller)
Ah, er, how many Windows computers do you have?
Me: About 4-5 are usually online during the day. Which Windows version called you?
Sir, your computer can not call anyone, your oldest Windows computer is infected.
Me: Interesting, would that be the oldest Windows version or the oldest age of my computers?
(more frantic searching database) Er, sir, your oldest computer.
Me: Windows XP, does it matter which version?
No, it does not, they are all infected.
Me: Sorry, are we discussing SQL injection hacking?
I am unfamiliar with this, can you turn on your windows PC please?
ME: Are you calling from Microsoft?
No, sir, we are a computer consulting company
Me: Are you calling from IBM because my pcs are IBM editions
No sir, IBM and Microsoft are vendors, we are a consulting company.
Me: Which consulting company would you be from because it is amazing you can call when I have a problem before I even know it on my turned off windows PC!
Sir can you turn on your PC please?
Me: Hold on a sec, are you from AVG?
Me: Symantec? MalwareBytes? Because we use all of those and that Microsoft malicious Removal toolkit thingy.
No sir we are not from any of those.
Me: Well, then why would my PC have problems if I use all of these things?
Sir there are infections online that got into your PC.
Me: Really? And how do they do that?
That is what we want to help you with sir. Do you use Social networks?
Me: sure all the time...from my phone.
Oh, not from your PC? But you do go online, right?
Me: Sure, Amazon is my friend.
Well you know Best Buy has a screen that pops up before you shop?
Me: So we are talking about cookies?
No sir, something much more malicious.
Me: I don't know cookies can be malicious you know.
Sir can you turn on your PC.
At this point I wanted to find out what they do so I opened an XP machine where they proceeded to have me open the event viewer and look at my application list which happened to be mostly information rather than warnings. No doubt any of the warnings or fatal messages they would jump on and say I was attacked.
In any rate after about 15 minutes I had enough of fun and told them, well I guess my PC is safe no warnings, thanks and enjoy your day I am going to eat dinner now.
The moral of the story is your own support desk should be this helpful and responsive to you but as usual if it is too good to be true, it is not true. people have been taken for money to buy fake anti-virus programs as well as provided full remote access to these people and all kinds of other things.
Some things I could have asked for more fun:
Which version of windows does it affect? International English or US English?
I'm okay my PC runs Hebrew Windows, it is bi-directional just to see what they say.
Can I have your number I have friends that need to talk to you, like the police.
I saw Sneakers, and I encrypt all my files, and go through zombie proxy servers just to evade the NSA, you're not from the NSA are you?
It was just fun and how often do we get to have this much fun with telemarketers?