The phone rang yesterday. An international number, according to the screen.
I answered it and was greeted – as I fully expected – by a few seconds of silence. And then a lady with a foreign accent came on the line and it was obvious as soon as she started to speak, that it was a scam call.
Long time since I’d had one of those. I wondered just how much I would be able to run their phone bill up.
“Could I speak to Mr Masher, please?” said the strong asian accent.
“Hello Mr Masher. I am calling on behalf of the Broadband Technical Support. How is your broadband running?”
“Absolutely fine, thanks.”
“No freezing or slowing down?”
“Nope” Hold on! This isn’t going to keep her talking! “Although, it has started getting a bit slower recently”, I added.
“Yes. I know. We have been getting signals from your computer on our server, telling us that you have a virus. I would like to fix that for you”
“That’s very nice of you. So, you can tell my PC has a virus, even though you are calling from abroad? Which ISP do you work for?”
“I am calling you from the Broadband Technical Support. We work for all the ISPs: BT; Virginmedia; Sky; Talk Talk. Now, I would like to show you…”
“If I have a virus, wouldn’t my anti-virus software have picked it up?”
“No. Whichever antivirus software you are using – Norton 360, Kasperky (sic), AVG – sometimes a virus can slip through. Now, if you go to this website for me, I can show you wh…”
“Well, that’s rubbish then, isn’t it? I shall be writing a strongly worded letter to Mr Norton telling him that his software is no good!”
“Yes. Would you like me to fix it for you?”
“Oohh, yes please. But, how much is this going to cost me?”
“It will not cost you anything Mr Masher. It is a free service that we offer to the broadband customers”
“Free? Well, that’s even better then! Lead on Macduff!”
“I am sorry, I do not understand what you are saying.”
“I was quoting Shakespeare. Don’t worry about it. Now, are you going to fix my computer or not?”
“Umm… OK, please type in the following web address: www.teamviewer.com”
“OK. I’m typing it now. www.teamplayer.com”
“No. Teamviewer.com. T. E. A. M…”
“Oh, sorry. V. E. H….”
“No. T for tango, E for echo, A for alpha….”
“Oh, you know the phonetic alphabet? Excellent. Are you a radio amateur then?”
“Er… no. Could we tr…”
“I am. It’s lots of fun. I was talking to a man in Serbia yesterday, you know. Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, T for telly, E for egg, A for… I’ve forgotten. What’s A stand for?”
“That’s right. Oh yes, teamviewer dot com. Hold on. I use teamviewer,com myself. This will allow you access to my PC”
“Yes, so I can show you the virus”
“Nah. I think you want to take control of my PC so you can put a virus on it. I’m not doing that.”
“No, Mr Masher. I need to remove the virus for you before it completely takes over your computer.”
“I don’t think so. I reckon you want to gain access to my PC so that you can get hold of all my personal data and steal the fifteen million pounds I have in my Post Office Savings account.”
“That is not true, Mr Masher”. It was evident from her voice that she now realised she was being had herself. Nonetheless, she kept up the charade. “Anyway, I cannot force you to use our service.”
“That’s right, you can’t.”
“Well, I wish you a good day and I hope you manage to sort out your PC. If you do require our services in the future, please call the Broadband Technical Support.”
“OK. Thank you. What number should I call you on?”
I checked the call duration on the phone’s screen. 06:43 Pah, not even close to my record.
Maybe next time.