Aargh! These people really annoy me!

I had a call from a nice lady named Celine at Comantra. She told me that they were a Microsoft support partner and the information they had about my PC suggested that there was a problem with the Windows operating system and that my machine had been compromised by malware and viruses. If I was sitting in front of my computer, their support team would be able to help me sort it out…

Now, this was not the first time I had been contacted by similar organisations, and I wanted to find out more, so I asked about the name of the company, got their phone number (08000488005), got her name…

And then I yelled at her.

Ask any of the chaps, and they’ll tell you that old Q, for all that he may be rather excitable sort of fellow sometimes, is not really given to yelling, but these scams really annoy me. They pick on the nervous and vulnerable and get them to fork out cash for a service which in all probability they do not need. Certainly, they know nothing about your computer – not one of my computers has run Windows in the last decade or so, for example – and how would they tie it to your phone number anyway? Unless they happened to be involved in the malware business themselves, perhaps… Anyway, in the past, when I’ve started asking difficult questions, they just hang up, so I wanted to play along to make sure I knew who was culpable. They know they’re guilty of misrepresentation.

If I’d had the presence of mind, I would have used the rather nice response that I heard someone on a podcast recently recommend for telemarketers of all types. He would listen patiently and then ask, “I have a question. Why don’t you get a job that makes peoples’ lives better instead of worse?”

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That someone was Marco and that podcast was Build & Analize on 5by5

I completely agree.

We had a call from “Rob Martin” (who had an Asian accent) from the “Windows Service Station” company telling us we had viruses on our computer, as the “global Internet router” had detected our computer was downloading “malicious and junk files” that were “more dangerous than viruses” (I didn’t tell him we only run Linux and Macs). I stayed on the line and he proceeded to show me that Event Viewer had lots red and yellow symbols (horrors!).

He then asked me to run “assoc” from cmd.exe and read out the hexadecimeal near the bottom where it says “CLSID”, which I assume is common for all Windows boxes. That meant he knew it was our computer! (I didn’t tell him it was one at work that I was VPNed into). He asked me to use LogMeIn to “fix” the issue, at which point I called him a charlatan, a scoundrel and a hoaxer who preyed on the computer illiterate. He then hung up 🙁 The number he called from was unobtainable so I can’t report them. Scoundrels!

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