Monday, July 28, 2014

A Failure in Irony

I've been getting these phone calls, lately, from "Geek Support Live." On the one hand, I want to applaud these people for their innovation, but the other hand wants to slap them. See, these are scam phone calls from India. I think it's an actual company. They call and tell you your computer has a security issue and if you will just follow their instructions, they will fix it for you. Of course, "Geek Support" is close enough to "Geek Squad" to make people consider what they're saying, but they also imply that they're from Microsoft.

I treat the calls like I often do with telemarketing calls, meaning I engage with them. Well, not always, but often enough. I find it amusing. Yes, I know I'm obnoxious, but getting telemarketing calls at 8:00 and 9:00pm is also obnoxious. So... anyway...

The first couple of times I got these calls from Geek Support Live, I asked all kinds of questions the guy couldn't answer but would always respond with, "It doesn't matter." Questions like
"What version of Windows am I running?"
"What kind of security issue am I having?"
"Who is it you're trying to call?"
Now, this third question was interesting, because, the first time I asked it, the guy responded with that "it doesn't matter" response. Basically, "you could be anyone with a computer." heh
Now, the second time I got one of those calls, the answer was disturbing, because they actually gave me a name; it was one of the wrong number names we frequently get to our phone number, but it showed more of a targeted call rather than random phone numbers.

Some other time, I told the caller that I didn't have a PC but a Mac; he immediately switched scripts and started telling me he could help me anyway.

I hadn't actually had anymore calls from them in a while until just the past couple of weeks. Frequently, I joke to my wife about the stupid calls like that that we get so, when I got the first new call, I mentioned it to her. She said, "It would be funny if the next time they call you tell them that you are from Geek Support Live and their computer is having an issue." I agreed. That would be terribly funny.

And it was terribly funny.

When I got the call today, as soon as the guy told me he was from Geek Support Live and that my computer was having a security issue, I said, "No, I'm from Geek Support Live, and your computer is having a security issue." At first, he didn't understand and tried to correct me, "No, I'm from Geek Support Live...," to which I replied, "No, I'm from Geek Support. My computer is telling me that your computer has a virus."
"No, my computer is okay."
"That's not what my computer is telling me."
"You're computer says my computer has a virus?"
"Yes, that what it says."
Of course, the actual conversation was quite a bit longer than that, but, somewhere in there, the Indian guy from Geek Support started laughing. He kept trying to cover it up, but I could hear him. I managed to keep a straight face, so to speak, throughout the call.

A little while later, they called back. It sounded like the same guy, but it may have just been the accent. We had a very similar start to the conversation until the guy said to me, "You must have a super computer."
I just went with it, "I do. I do have a super computer."
"You must, because you'd have to have a super computer to be able to tell you that my computer has a virus."
And that's where I almost laughed, because he failed to get the irony in what he was saying. I was supposed to believe that he, with his normal computer, could tell that my computer was infected, but I would need a super computer to tell the same thing of his. It was quite amusing.
Then he asked me if I was with Obama, because I would have to be with Obama (like be standing right there next to the President) to have access to a computer like that. But I still managed to keep a straight face.

The whole thing was very satisfying. And, no, I have no analogy or anything for this. It's just a page out of my life. You should have seen the looks my kids gave me every time I was having one of those conversations.

Oh, later, another guy from Geek Support called; it was definitely a different guy. He got offended when I told him that I was from Geek Support, too, then tried to tell me that the other two calls I had earlier in the day had not, in fact, been from Geek Support. Those guys were impostors. He even very helpfully offered to connect me to the Better Business Bureau so that I could confirm with them that he and only he was really from Geek Support Live.

I'm kind of looking forward to the next time they call.
Is that bad?


  1. Hey, you might as well have fun with it! Clever to tell them you're with Geek Support. Don't think I've received any of those calls.

  2. I have Alex. At 3 a.m. I was absolutely furious. They wanted me to get up and turn on my PC. Being half asleep it took me a bit to realise what this was about and I slammed down the phone. Not had one since. If I get calls at that time of the morning I think it's an emergency not some idiot spamming me.

  3. This is why I don't answer the phone anymore.

  4. This is why I don't answer the phone anymore.

  5. I loved this. No analogy necessary. This is just plain fun. I've never thought of parroting their own words back at them.

    I don't get calls for computer stuff, but I always get those "your car is out of a warranty" calls. Which is always fun to ask them if they know what I drive, because they also say "doesn't matter." So I tell them something like, okay, I drive a 1981 Toyota Corolla with 500,000 miles, how much of a warranty can I get on that? And suddenly they do care. And by that I mean they hang up in anger.

  6. That is absolutely hilarious. I like to mess with callers, too. I speak with an accent or talk in a foreign language (sometimes a language of my own invention); I say that I've died; I'm the housekeeper and Madam is not at home; I am the voice mail of some important person and leave a message after the BEEEEEEP. The phone call that disturbed me was when my name and phone number showed up as the caller. Yes! Miraculously, I called myself. A virus took over my browser last week. It used the same colors as Google Chrome, but it was called Snap-Do. Then ads appeared, telling me to call a phone number because something was wrong with my computer. The ad even said "Windows." Of course, I didn't call, and that evening, Willy Dunne Wooters and I spent a tiresome two hours killing the virus.


    P.S. President Obama is looking over my shoulder as I write this comment.

  7. Alex: I'm sure they'll get to you.

    Jo: From what I can tell, the entire "company" is in India, so they may have had they're scheduling off.
    Too bad that slam doesn't translate through the phone line.

    L.G.: Unfortunately, I have no other recourse.

    ABftS: I've never gotten a call about my car, but we get lots of calls about our "credit card" and our "utilities."

    Janie: It's amazing the lengths these guys will go to, but they seem to make a lot of money out of it, according to the estimates.

    Tell the President I said hello!

  8. Thanks for the heads up. I hate fraud and this sounds like a bad one.

  9. Hehe, I think it'd be fun to get two of those guys on the line at the same time, and conference them in, letting them go at the conversation the same way you did, only both adamantly insisting who they are. :)

  10. Making one of them laugh through his script is definitely a win. I'd like to know what would happen if you actually did call the BBB. Or maybe he would have given you a number of a heavily accented agent.

  11. Michael: I think it probably is a bad one for people who are uneducated about computers. Oh... thinking about it, I hope they don't call my parents.

    Loni: That would be hilarious!
    One of them called me back the next day insisting that I had told him I wanted a call back.

    Jeanne: Oh, he wasn't going to connect me to the actual BBB. The BBB has a... I don't know what they call it, but something that amounts to a fraud alert up about them.

  12. Ha! Brilliant. This made my evening, honestly. :)

  13. Good work, Andrew. Hey, how's my computer doing?

  14. Those are a lot better than the calls people have been getting from "Microsoft" but these sound a lot more fun. It must work on someone right? ROFL

  15. Lauren: Awesome!

    Rusty: Your computer is complaining a lot. Kind of like when you make kids do chores. Like the world is coming to an end. I hear "you can't believe what this guy makes me do" a lot.

    Maurice: They may be the same calls. They use the phrase "we're calling about your Microsoft computer" in a way that makes them sound like they're working with Microsoft.

  16. You handled it well.

    People have to be really careful. Last year when we bought a new laptop, I had some issues with setup and called what I THOUGHT was the Dell helpline. It was NOT, and after two attempts to get me to pony up $250 and a credit card number I got frustrated enough to tell them I was recording the call, and they hung up. I kept screen shots of the chats, too.

    I finally went to the Dell Website itself, making sure that I read carefully the google results. So they can trip up a lot of people.

    The main thing to remember is that almost no legitimate business issue starts with a phone call or email, and when they do, you should always tell them you will call them back, then look up the customer service number yourself and call that back. That'll weed out 90% of these.

  17. OMG, hilarious. I love stories of people messing with telemarketers. You would think your first try would have made them realize you're onto them and mark you off their lists. It's crazy they KEPT calling you after that!

  18. Briane: Yeah, I always go directly to the website and do everything there are get my info from there.

    Stephanie: I know! Did I say they called back again the next day, too? Because they did. CRAZY!

  19. Glad to see you're giving them a entertaining hard time. I've talked with these guys too. My favorite question is: Which one of my computers? The one with windows. I have eight computers, if you can't tell me exactly which one has the problem, I'm going to hang up. They never seem to be able to get that one right.

    It's the credit card scam call that bugs me the most because it's automated. I don't even have anyone to mess with or hang up on.

  20. Jean: Oh, yeah, I get the credit card one, too. "This is a call about your current credit card account." Or something like that.
    Still, I think my favorite is the email about my Blizzard account, because I don't have one.


    Oh, I wish I could mess with my scam caller that way. Sadly, whenever I answer there is absolute silence on the other end, and then the call disconnects in a few seconds.

    I finally got smart enough to set the ringtone for that call as an audio recording of complete silence.

  22. Rebekah: I get a lot of those, too. A lot of those.

  23. Great post. Not every post needs an analogy, and this is one of them. :D Got a kick out of this. Great way to handle a scam call.