Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tell me what it says on the screen?

Years ago a computer error message  popped up on one of my browsers.  The message indicated that my computer had been infected and was locked for security reasons.  I couldn’t get it to close, and turning off the computer did not help. There was a phone number to call.  In a moment of stupidity I called.  It took me a while to realize that this was not an Apple representative on the other end of the line, and that they were not trying to fix my computer but invade it.  The “technician” who was “helping” me was named Frank.  He had a very thick Indian/Pakistani accent. When things began to sound fishy and there was a sum of money needed to fix the problem I hung up and called Apple Direct.  The solution was simple.  Dump that browser and down load it again from the App Store.  The lesson was... never assume it is Apple unless you called them.  

Since that day my land line phone number has been on their list, I suppose.  For several days every month there will be a barrage of heavily accented “computer specialists” who tell me they are getting a signal that my computer has been hacked.  I have spent a lot of time asking to be taken off the list, threatening them, cursing them and using a number blocker to keep them from calling.  However, they use numbers that are bogus and change numbers with every call.  It is impossible to stop them completely so we rarely answer the land line phone unless someone starts to leave a message.  
However,  while there is construction going on at the house we have been answering numbers that might be subcontractors or delivery people.  Such was the case this morning.  Waiting on a painter to call back I answered the phone without thinking.
“Hello, Jay... this is your Microsoft Computer expert, Ralph, remember me.”  Now I am onto most of their methods.  They always say “Remember me,” because they all have the same accent and no one remembers names.  I had some time to spend waiting on a painter so... 
Game on.
“Oh yeah, Ralph. Is something wrong with my Microsoft Computer?” 
“Yes we have been getting an error signal on your computer.” 
“My Microsoft computer?” Readers note:  I have only owned Apple/Mac products since 1982.  
“Yes. Windows.”  
“Oh no. Did I get hacked by the Russians? I accidentally went on a white supremacist web page looking for a Trump reference.  Do you think they might have placed some malware on my hard drive while I was on that site checking out hate speech?”
There is a moments pause from Ralph. “That is a possibility.”
“What do I need to do?”
“You need to turn on your computer.”
“It’s on... I’m in front of it now.”
“Do you see your keyboard?”  
“Yes the typing thing.”
“Hold down the CLR key and the enter key at the same time.”
“At the same time?  Both together at once? Unison?”
“Did you do it?”
I make some struggling sounds, like I am trying to accomplish  a difficult manual task... “Okay I finally got it.”
“Good now you see a dialogue box on your screen - ?”
“Tell me what it says on the screen..”
“Wait I have to get my glasses on to see...”
“No worries.  Tell me what it says...”
You saw it coming..... 

I told him what I WANTED this mythical dialogue box to say.  It was a venomous, voluminous diatribe riddled with cursing, and liberal use of the word fuck... in each of its context meanings.  As I tried to recall it to type it here there was something missing.  The volume and the rage in my voice.  It just does not read like it plays when you are pissed at someone.  So you can insert your own rage here. The one you have always wanted to give to the telemarketer/scam artist who invades the privacy of your home.  

Sandi points out it is a useless battle to fight with the callers.  Like the living dead scammers keep coming, you can’t kill them and if you could three more take their place.  She asks,
“Don’t you have something better to do with your time than yelling at some guy trying to earn a living half the globe away?”
Yes. I do have something better to do with my time... waiting for the painter to text/call/arrive/communicate.  Perhaps Ralph got the rage of my frustration saving the painter from wrath.
As you were, 


1 comment:

Trevor said...

I like to think that, just maybe, something one of us says to these people will cause them to find another way to make a living. Sadly, so many people (in my experience, older and less-than-affluent people) become victims to these scammers. I wish everyone would either use a Mac or a Chromebook. Windows is just too vulnerable for most people.