sharing news and views from Crouch End and Hornsey
DO YOU get unsolicited calls from India asserting they want to help with your computer problem? I've just had yet another, from "Mike" in "London".
To be told by "Microsoft" support that I've got problems with my Windows computer, cuts little ice for a 20+ year veteran of using Macs exclusively.
In the past, I've strung them along as far as I dare before revealing I have never used DOS-Windows. Sometimes I ask them to identify themselves in detail so painful that they give up. Sometimes I try to appeal to their conscience.
The defining characteristic of these scam calls, originating overseas, is that before they speak, there is a pause, sometimes shorter and sometimes longer. This is because at the fraudster's office, the call to you is dialled by a computer. When you answer, it it placed to the first available scammer/employee on a rotation basis.
I have decided that if there is any delay after I answer the phone, I will put the receiver down to avoid wasting time in future ...
I get calls from India (I think) from someone who knows my name and says "I just have to ask you who supplies your Gas?" To which I reply, from a variety of choices depending how much of their time I want to waste. Generally "But I don't have to answer. Thank you for calling, Good Bye".
I also get calls from from a caller ID of "out of area" saying "Congradulations, you have won an all expnses paid .." something or other, but I rarely hear what it is I almost certainly have not won.
The Telephone Preference system does not seem to work for these people. A mistake I have sometimes have made is entering a competition and giving up my telephone number or address as the cost of entry. I deeply regret doing this for Saga, because though my years may be numerous, I am not old.
If a caller asks to speak to Mr Williams, I reply that he is in America and will be back in 18 months.
Not that original, I know.
Or sometimes I say 'yes you can I'll just go and get him'. Then I'll put down the receiver for a few minutes. With any luck, the caller's time will be wasted.
A variation on the above, but probably another scam:
a short while ago this afternoon, I answered a call with a long delay before someone came on the line. A woman with an Indian accent claimed to be "Michelle" from the Accident Help Line. "How are you today?". "Has anyone suffered an accident at your place?"
I suggested that Michelle was not her real name and pleaded with her to take my phone number off their database. She apologised but I've no reason to suppose this will be actioned.
Not sure how this scam works, maybe the call centre is retained to drum up business for the accident claims lawyers.
i think the reason you hear a pause is that they are using skype, which is a free way to make international calls. i get these calls all the time. they are lying to you right from the start! Hello, my name is Mike Smith, they say. If you have time & inclination, you can try to confound them. OK, Mike, what's your father's name?These people are usually calling from Calcutta.
There are also similar callers from the Philippines.
I don't know what they want. I read that they want you to install some junk software in your computer which you then have to pay them to remove.
Yes, they're lying to you from the start and normally try to put you on the back foot right away with a question or assertion and identify themselves with perhaps a first name only. I ignore what they say and just question them closely, mainly getting them to identify themselves. If you pursue it, e.g "I've never heard of your company", this is always a problem for them.
For some reason, they seem to believe I run a DOS-Windows type computer – I must have had at least half a dozen calls telling me about a Windows virus or some such.
Skype is only free when used to connect via computer to another Skype user online at that moment. It is cheap but not free when a call is placed to a regular telephone. Any delay occasioned with Skype, which I use, is short, but with the overseas call centres, there is a pronounced delay at the beginning of the call – you can end up giving your name several times.
Someone who has trained call centre staff (in this country) told me the reason for the delay is that a computer is dialling these calls automatically, you answer it and then it routes the call to the first available free call-centre staff-member.
This often causes a delay because they're often engaged on other spam/nuisance calls. From their point of view, its efficient because the staff don't waste time placing calls to numbers that are engaged or where the target is not in.
I shall be more aggressive with these rogues next time ...
They're also known as "silent calls" when the computer at the other end gets ahead of itself, places the call to you, you answer it, but no operative is yet available to speak to you, because they're all already tied up try to sell or scam someone else.
Cupcake: They are cold calls which have certain features in common. They originate overseas, probably from call centres in India. Long ago, I registered with the telephone preference service which means I shouldn't get unsolicited calls. Further, I reject incoming calls where a caller withholds their phone number. This effectively stops all domestic sales calls. This means these nuisance calls are from abroad because TPS only applies within the UK and the call barring only works within the UK.
The names proffered are names like "Jim" or "Mary" and bear no relation to the person's actual name. The conversation almost always start with a pronounced delay for the reason I've given above.
I've had the so-called "computer problem" calls several times – its obviously some kind of scam, because they assert I've got a problem with my "Windows" computer, whereas I would never run such an operating system (Mac for 20 years).
It's just a nuisance, but for anyone who hasn't experienced it, they should know about it ...
A survey from Microsoft reveals just how widespread the fake tech support call scam is becoming.
The crooks cold-call people at home and claim to be calling from Microsoft or a well-known security firm and offering "free security checks".
The software giant surveyed 7,000 computer users in the UK, Ireland, US and Canada and found an average of 16 per cent of people had received such calls. In Ireland this rose to a staggering 26 per cent.
More on this link (The Register)
I'm still getting these wretched calls. I did manage to get my own back though, earlier this week. He hadn't caught my name and I offered to go and get [me]. "Can you hold?" "Yes". I put the receiver on the desk, went away and came back after a quarter hour. He hadn't been waiting that long.
The BBC have an amusing account of stringing along the fraudsters. They're normally called Steve or Bob but their real name will be Raj or Sanjeev.
How to spot a PC virus scam (BBC story)