After the first time I got called by somebody claiming to be from Windows technical support, that stupid stupid scam where they try to tell you your system is crashing, I thought about what I might say to the next idiot who called me. I was sure it would happen again.
So today I got an “Out of Area” call (code for “no caller ID”) with a weird number (31313) under it. This kind of thing should be a red flag for the phone system and frankly, the phone company should drop these calls outright. But anyway, I get a call center and an Indian dude asks for my wife by her maiden name. Seldom are such calls legit, but I said she wasn’t available and asked who was calling. That’s when he said he was John from Windows technical support.
I cut him off right there.
Me: John, are you happy with your life? Are you really okay with the way your life turned out that you do this? Do you go to bed happy knowing you scam people for a living?
John: Yes, I go to bed happy with my girlfriend.
Me: Even though your job is to scam people? John? Can you really be proud of that? You know, I can kind of understand if you just need the work and you’re doing whatever job you can, but you could at least look for another one.
John: This is not a scam, sir. I am from the Windows technical—
Me: Oh, John. John. And I know it’s not really John. You know and I know that you’re not really from Windows. Why are you wasting our time with this? Is this really what you wanted to do with your life? I mean come on, John. Have some self respect. (click)
In the interest of being a better person, I went with kindly and exasperated rather than vicious. Did it do any good? Doubtful. But I feel like I did the right thing.
Meanwhile, I mentioned recently started getting debt collection calls for a brand new fourth person I had never heard of before. Three companies called within the space of one week. I went the extra mile and looked up this Tanya person, and discovered she not only does exist in my area, but her phone number is one digit off mine. She obviously fake-numbered a bunch of accounts so she could play dumb if they ever caught up to her (because nobody’s actually that stupid), and that pissed me off enough that I decided to help out the next people who called.
On Friday a new company called, an Indian call center. I got a robocall first telling me to stay on the line, which I only did because I was sure this was for Tanya. Sure enough, the guy asked for Tanya. I told him she was not at this number, but I had done a search and looked up her real number and could provide it for him.
This is where things got weird. The guy I talked to apologized for my inconvenience and asked for my name. I gave it to him out of courtesy, in case he needed it for his notes, but when he asked how to spell it I drew a line and said he really didn’t need that much information. All he needed, after all, was the right number, which I’d just given him. At that point he asked me if he left a callback number, if I could pass a message on to Tanya. I had to re-explain that I had never heard of this person before a few weeks ago, that I only knew her real number because I did a Google search. I still wasn’t sure he ever really processed that concept.
Saturday rolled around, and the same exact company (I can’t tell if it was the same guy) called me again, right in the middle of lunch. The guy on the line asked for Tanya, and couldn’t even freaking pronounce her last name—even though it’s a darn sight easier than mine. I unloaded. The poor sap never got a word in edgewise, but I rattled off the correct phone number twice and said very loudly that I did not know Tanya and I only knew the right number because I searched for it. Once I had gone off on him for about 90 seconds I hung up.
I’m expecting the next call back any time now, because these guys are idiots; when “John” called I thought it was them. And it isn’t like they grow ’em stupid in India; this is apparently just the quality you get out of offloading your debt collection harassment calls overseas. Then again, debt collection operations tend to be kind of half-witted to begin with.
As for the scammers, screw ’em. When I become a supervillain I will absolutely authorize—with full legal authority mind you—bounties on the people who run these operations. (Scams, that is, not Indian call centers.) I know “John” is just some schmo who does the calls for someone else, but at the end of the day he knows what he’s doing is wrong. I could wish him ill, but I’d much rather wish ill on his bosses. And so I shall.