The power of Critical Thinking skills – Wasting a Phone Scammer’s time.

So guy phones me up, mystery number, asks if I have a Windows computer. I say yes. He says they are phoning all Windows users to do a security check. You know where this is going…

I interrupt his script to suggest that is a daunting task, with there being something like 2 billion Windows computers. I express genuine interest in the logistics, asking him about his staff levels, work hours and management team.

Trying to stay on track, he quickly says they have 10,000 staff working around the clock.

I act impressed, but suggest that this seems hardly enough, as each of the 10,000 people would need to make 250 calls a day each to get to all the Windows computer users within a three-year timeframe. That is only if they are lucky enough to get everyone the first try: what about the people they miss the first time, and need to call back? Or need to call back more than once? That must at least double the number of calls needed.

Starting to feel trapped, he said something about them working very hard…

I assured him I beleive he did, but what do they do about the database problem? How to keep track of calls made by 10,000 staff, and to keep track of the people who may buy a windows computer during the three years it takes to get through all the users.

He started to get itchy now. And went back to his first question: did I have a Windows computer?

Then it occurred to me that he was asking IF I had a windows computer, which leads me to believe they are making up the database as they go along. Aye Carumba! What are they thinking!?! They need to call everyone on Earth, hoping to catch the 2 billion with Windows computers!

He suggested these things were management’s problem, not his. Pretty creative response, if you ask me. But I was more undaunted than he.

I then asked if the 10,000 included management, because that just makes the numbers worse. I started to compliment him on the astounding task he and his massive team have undertaken. Then started asking how they manage the language problem, as the majority of Windows computer owners likely don’t speak English. Were there, I suggested, some sort of regional language teams, and how many languages do the 10,000 staff speak?

I had him going on this line for about 5 minutes before he hung up.

Never got my security check…

2 comments on “The power of Critical Thinking skills – Wasting a Phone Scammer’s time.

  1. Patrick, I got the call about 3 weeks ago. (I hadn’t read this article, yet, was saving the paper to read at work). I believed him until he wanted to take control of my computer. Now, my real server techs are allowed, when I have a critical problem, but I make the call, not them. I argued with the fellow, whose accent was so think that I barely understood him. He assured me that he was legit, but I hung up on him. Then a week later I got another call, and I argued loudly that unless I call them, I will not give up control of my pc. The last week, another call, same accent, but different caller ID. When asked if I had a Windows computer, I said ‘No’ and the line went dead. I guess they won’t be calling my number again, since I ‘don’t have a computer’. Thanks Patrick, I have posted the article on FB and a link to this blog post.

  2. Thanks Trish. I have a friend in the Fraser Valley who holds the record, he kept the guy on the line for 45 minutes! he did it by giving him false info, telling him the comuter just crashed and he needed to reboot, oh, wait I need to check the plug, hold On, I have something on the stove, i’ll be right back, etc.

    This way, you waste their time, you take time away from when they could scam someonw else, you hurt tyheir business model…

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