‘The puzzled owner is then directed to their computer, and asked to open a program called "Windows Event Viewer". Its contents are, to the average user, worrying: they look like a long list of errors, some labelled "critical". "Yes, that's it," says the caller. "Now let me guide you through the steps to fixing it."
The computer owner is directed to a website and told to download a program that hands over remote control of the computer, and the caller "installs" various "fixes" for the problem. And then it's time to pay a fee: £185 for a "subscription" to the "preventative service".
The only catch: there was never anything wrong with the computer, the caller is not working for Microsoft or the internet service provider, and the owner has given a complete stranger access to every piece of data on their machine.’
Now most recipients of these calls will catch on that it’s a hoax straight away and put the phone down, but there are many computer users out there, particularly the elderly, who fall foul to these hoax calls and find themselves considerably out of pocket as a result. So the purpose of this post is two-fold: a) to spread the word that these calls are malicious, and b) to absolve any guilt that you may feel when you vent your weekly stress buildup at them. Occasionally I feel guilty when I’m short with the workers in call centres – yes cold calls are a pain, but if they’re doing the legitimate selling thing then it’s just annoying, not malicious. But these guys are different. They're not only trying to rip you off but they’re doing it right to your face. They may as well walk up to you in the street and try to mug you.
I believe that the illegal nature of these calls gives us the right to be as aggressive, abusive and offensive as humanly possible, but if you’re bored then you could try entertaining yourself with one of the responses below. See it as a game and have fun, please feel free to add your own…
Tell them you’re 15 years old
Keep repeating ‘hello?’ as though you cannot hear them
Ask them to wait while you fetch your husband, wife, partner or get a pen, then put the phone on the table for an hour or two
Tell them your troubles. Why do they think your ex sent you that text out of the blue?
Give the phone to your toddler
Tell them that the person they are calling for is dead
Speak another language (or gibberish)
Invent a religion and try to convert them
Tell them you’re suicidal and they need to talk you out of doing the worst
Alternatively, learn this script verbatim…