“I’m a con artist in that I’m an actor. I make people believe something is real when they know perfectly well it isn’t.” – John Lithgow
OK, play along here. You’re sitting at home some night, let’s say around 10 PM, and you hear a knock on your door. Now, depending upon where you live in the US, and your political leanings, you may, or may not immediately reach for your gun and start chanting “Stand Your Ground, Castle Doctrine, Stand Your Ground“. But this isn’t a socio-political blog, so let’s just pretend that you happily skip to the door to see who’s there. On your front stoop you find a man (or woman….no misogyny here), and they promptly tell you, in a thick, barely discernible accent, that they’re from the local water department (sorry, left their ID back at the shop) and your pipes and water meter have been sending error messages back to the main pump station. Surely you wouldn’t mind letting them in to check on things because in the back of your mind you remember that cold shower you had to endure several days ago. Once inside, your guest tinkers around all your faucets and toilets and finally announces that they have located the problems and can fix everything, right there on the spot, for a small fee of $450.00. But wait, there’s more! That $450.00 will also get you a 5 year, above and beyond the norm, very special maintenance plan and they’ll even throw in a years supply of those blue things you drop in your toilet tanks, free of charge. After a few seconds of serious thought, you conclude that you really hate cold showers and kinda like the blue stuff every time you flush. Besides, this guy (or woman) really seems to know their stuff…..and he/she did show you the cold pipes leading to that damn shower head. Oh, and you’ve noticed that he/she has one of those convenient card swipe thingies attached to their phone. Everyone knows only official water department personnel have and know how to use those gadgets, right? So, what the hell…..here’s the Visa card.
What’s that you say? Ridiculous? Inconceivable? Never happen?
Then how do you explain the fact that people answer their telephone, at all hours of the day or night, listen to someone say they’re from Microsoft, and essentially fall for the same scheme? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Seriously, I need an answer to that question. Practically every major news outlet in the world, at some point during the last 6 or 7 years, has warned people of computer related phone scams. Bloggers, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many other social media networks, caution about these things constantly. And yet…..well, my computer has been running slow lately, and they did say they were from “Windows”, so……here’s my Visa card. Can you possibly think of asking for a call back number and then, providing they give you one, maybe plug it into Google to see how many other poor bastards got called and/or scammed before you? Nope. Dammit, they said they were from Microsoft, so………
It’s exasperating. Some of my own customers who hear me rail about things like this all the time, and a few of whom sat front & center during one of my many community presentations where I’ve explained these scams. But,…..here’s my MasterCard.
In the future, if they come to me with these type of stories, and say they paid someone over the phone, I’ll just nod and tell them they got a great deal. Their number will then be placed into my as-of-yet unmade database. I’ll be the one calling them in the future. I can do a great “tech support” accent. Just have your American Express card handy.