Sometimes getting rid of telemarketers is as easy as having an unpronounceable name.
I should know. My last name is a real winner, heavy on consonants from the last third of the alphabet. More than once, a cold-caller has been stopped cold by my name and actually just hung up the phone.
This morning I joined the ranks of people who have been treated to calls from India in which the caller purports to be from the Windows Service Center. My cousin, an IT specialist at a university, fielded one of these calls last week, and we'd talked about it a little bit. I decided to press the issue a little bit, since I was sure I had a scammer on my hands. Or, at least, my phone.
So "Steven" told me that my computer was downloading harmful files. First I asked him how I could call him back in case the call got disconnected. He rattled off a string of numbers, which I wrote down and immediately Googled while he talked to me some more. (Shocker--the numbers were nowhere in the USA.)
I sat there Googling Windows Service Center while "Steven" told me that if I would just turn on my computer and enter the license key he was going to tell me, he could fix things.
My computer was already on, but I didn't let "Steven" know that. The guy was just getting to the good part: hackers were misusing my computer--even as we spoke on the phone! I asked "Steven" where he was located, and suddenly the call was switched to "David."
Clearly "Steven" couldn't take the pressure. "David" started to turn on the hard sell. At one point, he told me that he was "having something that would make me understand." I hung up.
"David" wasn't going to take no for an answer. He called me back and pretended we'd gotten disconnected. I played along. "David" tightened the thumbscrews, informing me that if I did not follow his instructions, he was going to take away my Windows license.
I wasn't scared.
I asked him for the phone number at his office, and he spouted off a few numbers before giving up and hanging up on me.
Now that's more like it.
(Public Service Announcement: Microsoft is NOT going to call you with a trouble report. Ever. Don't give out your information to these guys.)
The easiest way to get rid of these pesky Windows Service Center callers is to tell them you have an Apple computer. Save up to $200 off Apple products when you purchase them for a high-school or college student, homeschooled student, or teacher! This Apple Store offer expires August 5, 2013.