How I dealt with one of those “Hello, I am calling from Windows” calls

Here is something I wrote in 2013 about how I dealt with one of those scam phone calls that tell you they have spotted something wrong with your computer.

Unfortunately these nasty little con artists are still at it. I received a call from them earlier today.

When I got the call in 2013 I had a bit of time on my hands and decided to play along, here is what happened.

I have just received one of those phone calls I have previously warned about, the ones where they say there is a problem with your computer and they can fix it, for a price.

He introduced himself as "from Windows". He didn't say Microsoft Windows but given he said he had spotted I had an issue with the software on my computer I guess that is what he was trying to imply.

I momentarily considered telling him where to go in no uncertain terms, but then I thought of something that might be more enjoyable. Now being a bit of a computer nerd I have a laptop computer that runs on the Linux operating system rather than Windows, as well as having a MS Windows desktop.

I grabbed the laptop and fired it up and then let him instruct me on what he wanted me to do. Well I did my best but pressing the 'Windows' key on the keyboard and the 'R' key simultaneously does not bring up a 'Run' box on a Linux machine. He tried a different approach and got me to visit three different web sites in an attempt to gain remote access to my computer. None of these worked, the files he got me to download would not run, well they wouldn't on a Linux machine would they?

After nearly half an hour of patiently talking me through all of this he gave up and said there was nothing more he could do and my computer would surely crash completely very shortly. It was at this point I thought I had better ask him if the problems we had encountered with his instructions might be down to trying to run the Windows programs he had told me to download on a machine running on the Linux operating system. I can't think why but he put the phone down on me.

I had had a bit of fun and during the time I had taken up he was not phoning anyone else, perhaps someone not quite so computer savvy who may have been taken in by him.

I must stress I am computer literate to a technical level. I knew exactly what I was doing, and what he was trying to do at each stage. I knew I was winding him up and that what I was doing was safe on my machine. Anyone who does not have this type of expertise should not entertain calls from these scammers and hang up immediately.

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