I knew something was fishy when the phone rang and the Call Display showed a call-back number of 666-035-3612 because, as we all know, 666 is the area code of the beast. I waited the five seconds for the auto-dialer system to connect me to a real operator.
‘Hello, my name is Gary from the Windows Technical Department. I am phoning you because we have been receiving a series of errors from your computer this week indicating several vulnerabilities, and I am calling to help you to fix them. Do you have a few minutes? It is very important.’
Try as I might, I couldn’t help myself from bursting out laughing, but after a few seconds I answered ‘Ok, how are you going to help me to fix them?’
Gary was put off by my laughing and asked why, emphasizing that this was a very serious matter, and that I could be facing serious financial and legal repercussions if I took it lightly. ‘Computer Security is very important and if you do not take it seriously by following my instructions it will cost you. So why are you laughing?’
I couldn’t help myself. Now, remember… the following statement is not true, but I assumed that for the sake of this conversation my MVP Lead and Managers will forgive me for saying ‘Because I work for Microsoft with the Windows Product Team.’ I did not feel it would have helped at all to explain about the Springboard Technical Experts Panel, and how I write courseware and give presentations and that I am not actually an employee, even though I have a title. However I do not think he would have been so interested in the answer due to his obviously well-thought response of: ‘Well then &^$# you then.’ and he hung up.
Of course I knew in advance that this was a scam, because one of my sisters-in-law was caught unawares by this, and it ended up costing her hundreds of dollars and no end of headaches. Remember folks, Microsoft will help you in all sorts of ways, but always passively… YOU have to come to THEM. They will NEVER initiate a conversation, either by phone or e-mail or pop-up, saying you are compromised now we can help you.
Lesson over… I’m going to Tae Kwon Do!