Vignette: On candour, scams, and shame

Caller with Indian accent, call centre noise in background: “Hello, is this “Mrs. Kennedy?”

Me: who’s calling please? (No “Mrs. Kennedy” lives in my house. It’s a name used almost exclusively by scammers.)

Scammer: “This is Amal calling from the technical department, about your computer Windows.”

Me: “Oh for Pete’s sake, aren’t you ashamed of yourself?” I blurt out. I’d answered in the expectation of  an important call.

Scammer: “Yes, I do feel shame, ma’am. But I am very poor.”

Me: speechless.

Period of silence, so long it’s painful.

Me (quietly): “I’m really sorry, but I can’t help you.”

I hang up.

— Deborah Jones 


Aggressive, persistent Windows tech support scammers continue to stalk consumers

By Gregg Keizer, Computerworld

Scammers posing as Microsoft support technicians continue to work the phones in search of victims, the company said last week, and have, in fact, grown bolder in their tactics…

The scams rely on a combination of aggressive sales tactics, lies and half-truths. Cold callers pose as computer support technicians, most often claiming to be from Microsoft, and try to trick victims into believing that their computer is infected, usually by having them look at a Windows log that typically shows scores of harmless or low-level errors. At that point, the sale pitch starts, with the caller trying to convince the consumer or business worker to download software or let the “technician” remotely access the PC. 

The fraudsters charge for their worthless “help” or sell subscriptions to useless services, and sometimes install malware on PCs while they have the machines under their control.