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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

I’m here to help.


The phone rang this afternoon and Mrs FE answered it. A few minutes later Mrs FE poked her head round the door of the office and handed the phone  to me with a concerned look on her face.

On taking it from her I wondered if the call was from the police, re-payment of PPI, I’d won the lottery, of from one of the kids.

But no, this was the man from Microsoft who proceeded to tell me that they had been monitoring my computer and that it had multiple problems. The conversation goes something like this:

Microsoft engineer (MSE)

“We have been monitoring your computer and can see that it has many problems” (not an American or British accent).

Filthy Engineer (FE)

“Oh dear what can I do?” (Attempting to purvey a note of worry in my voice).


“You need to follow my instructions”




“Can you see a logo of MS on the left of the screen?”


“What does it look like?”


“It looks like a flag with four colours in a circle.


“All I can see is the date and time.”


“The LEFT hand side of the screen”.


“Sorry. I see it now, what should I do?”


“Click on it”


“OK” (click)


“Do you see a menu?”


(Short pause to light up a ciggie and add a bit of tension to the unfolding drama) “Yes”


“Can you  see a small box under the phrase “All programs”?”




“I want you to type in m.s.c.o.n.f.i.g.”


(After pretending to misspell it several times I finally affirmed that I had typed it in).


“Press enter and tell me what you see?”


“A box with Msconfig in it”


“just click on it”


“I’ve done that


“What do you see?”


“Program not responding.”

(This is what was actually up on my screen and what he was expecting)



Silence for a few seconds

“I think we need to start again by rebooting your computer”


“How do I do that?”

As most astute readers will know this is a scam to catch the unwary and deliver a trojan into your computer which will give you the idea that your machine is inflicted with all manner of nasties. What they will then do is sell useless software that purports to save your computer from eternal damnation..

I enjoyed every minute of the time on the phone with him. We must have jointly started the computer at least 8 times whilst trying to rectify the faults. Such as: “It’s loading updates from your company”, “the mouse isn’t working”, “how do you spell mscongig again?”.

Oh please let a Nigerian 419 scammer phone me.


  1. Absolutely brilliant. I wish I had time when I got calls like that, but I only ever seem to get them when I'm up to my eyes in work with a deadline looming.

  2. I look on it as a public service in that while they're talking to me they can't be buggering up some other fools' computers.

    I had one on the line for about 45 minutes then I innocently asked "I use Ubuntu Linux on my computer, could that be why it's not doing what you expect?"

    The last one told me I had to switch my computer on, the conversation went something like:
    Me: Which one, I have about 200 computers here, they all have names. Tell me the name and I'll go and switch it on.
    Nasty Evil Scamming Bastard: You haven't got 200 computers
    Me: Yes I do. I have 200 computers. Tell me the name of the one that you want me to turn on. I know you're lying to me by the way and you're definitely not going to get any money out of me but I'll talk to you as long as you want.
    NESB: Just turn on your Windows computer
    Me: You need to tell me which one.
    NESB: Any of them. You haven't got 200 computers.
    Me: Maybe I haven't, maybe I'm lying to you but you started it.
    And so it went on for about half an hour.

    I need to get a hobby. :-)

  3. I too love winding them up.

    Like you, hearing difficulties and misunderstandings add to the string-along.

    Delays occur when I have to got 'to the room with the computer'; I usually have time to make a coffee when the old computer takes forever to boot up.

    I always have difficulty Finding the 4-colour flag. It's not in any of the 4 corners.

    It usually takes them ages to twig I run OSX

  4. I usually offer them the opportunity to speak to my IT team.

    Moi: We have about three hundred PCs here, which one are you calling about?

    Not an American or British accent: This is not your home??

    Moi: Would you like me to put you through to our IT team?

    Not an American or British accent: ... click.

  5. The scary thing is that i have had at least 3 of those calls, and so has everyone else.

    That is million and millions of scam calls...this is a big big big scam industry

    1. Not to long ago, I worked in the call centre of a bank - ( needs must and all that ) and I was amazed at the number of people who were taken in by the scam.

      It seems you phone a stranger up at random and the chances are pretty good he or she will get his or her debit card out pretty much straight away.

  6. I believe that I read here of the payback strategy by pretending to be a policeman investigating the murder of the person asked for by the caller. I have had so much fun with that.

  7. Andy.

    I WILL use that if there's a next one.

  8. Yes. Keep them talking as long as poss. Ask lots of questions. It's all adding to their phone bill. Being retired means I can keep them going until they eventually hang up. Worked every time so far.

  9. Sorry to come late to the party, but if you get really pissed off by these calls, keep a referee's whistle by the phone.

    Apparently if blown forcefully close to the mouthpiece, it can produce intense pain - even agony - at the other end. I have heard reports that it can even shatter eardrums...


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