21 August 2012
Thank you for calling me today from the security department of my Windows computer. I hadn’t realised that the computer had a security department tucked away inside, let alone a human being able to address me by my own name.
I jest of course. I know you’ve got other people there because I can hear them in the background and, indeed, I think some of them have called me in the past. So I guess you work in a call centre, probably somewhere in South East Asia judging by your accent.
I have had more or less friendly conversations with many of your colleagues, or perhaps they are competitors. Who knows. There seem to be a heck of a lot of you and you all tell me that my computer has a security problem.
Since you all know my name and that I use a computer with Windows I have tried asking on previous occasions which of my two computers has the problem, what you believe its brand name to be, and whether you are employed by Microsoft itself or their appointed agents. Curiously, at this point, the line usually goes dead.
I do hope you weren’t phoning about the same, forgive me, scam that one of my friends fell for when someone called him about the security problem his computer also had. That other person took him through a long routine online that ended with him saying, I may have the detail wrong, ‘And if your screen shows the number 2789.54 you have a security breach that our software can resolve.’
My friend was so impressed with the diagnosis that he subscribed to three years’ worth of protection from the problem. Pity he read later that the same sequence of steps on any computer would result in the same number. Sort of magic, isn’t it?
Anyhow, my apologies for putting the phone down on you so quickly and abruptly. I expect all this has made me more cynical than I should be. Feel free to call again and we can compare notes about the weather in Scotland and Manila, or wherever you’re based. I don’t expect you get much light relief. It must be a hell of a way to earn a living.