“Hello, madam. I am calling from the Technical Department of [insert telecommunications/broadband company here]. I am calling you because we have noticed you have suspicious activity on your computer and people could be stealing your information.”
What do you do when you get these calls? Hang up? Get annoyed? Do you not even get this far, hanging up the phone as soon as you hear that telltale pause when you answer the phone?
In the MOSY household, we greet these calls with glee. Ooh, goody! It’s “Torture the Fake Technical Department Caller” time!
If I’m busy, eg in the middle of cooking dinner, my standard is to wait long enough for them to get to the point of asking me to turn on my computer and then I say “Okay. Hang on a minute.” I then put the phone down on the bench and walk away. I’ll come back later and hang it up.
Once, a very persistent caller rang me back after this procedure. He accused me of hanging up on him.
“I did not!” I said. “I went and turned the computer on and when I came back to the phone you weren’t there.”
“I was here!” he retorted.
“No, you weren’t!”
This went on for a bit. Finally, he decided to get on with the task at hand.
“Okay. Well, is your computer on now?”
“No. I turned it off when you weren’t there.”
“Well, can you turn it on now?”
“Yep. Hang on a tic.”
He didn’t try to ring back a third time.
If I’m not busy and in need of some amusement, I try and keep them on the line for as long as possible. The best way to do this is to pretend your computer won’t turn on. I once had a call escalated up three levels as they tried to figure out why my computer wouldn’t work.
It’s important, also, to feign as much ignorance as possible. I managed to string out the instruction to press the Control key on my keyboard for about five minutes.
“It says C-T-R-L. It’s on the bottom left of your keyboard.”
“The bottom left corner. Can you see it?”
“No. I don’t have a button like that.”
And so on.
But our all time favourite was this one:
“Madam, is your computer turned on?”
“Okay, I need you to…”
“There’s smoke coming out of it!”
“Madam? I need you to…”
“My computer’s on fire!! What did you do??”
“I did not do anything, madam. I need you to…”
“Yes, you did!! You made my computer catch on fire!! IT’S ON FIRE!!”
The poor girl tried to stick to her script while I kept screaming about my incendiary technology. Then she hung up.
Sigh. Such simple pleasures.
So next time you get one of these calls, don’t get irritated. Get as much fun out of it as you can. It’s cheap entertainment and while they’re on the line with you, they’re not ripping off some poor unsuspecting innocent.
Have you got your own favourite method for dealing with these callers?