June 23, 2015

John and the phone scam

My university buddy John wrote recently from the States. He has found an intriguing way to ... well, perhaps I'll just let him explain. Here is his mail, verbatim.

***

Hi Dilip,

There is a phone scam that has been going around in the US for a number of years. Someone calls (always from an Indian call center with a lot of noise in the background) saying they are from Microsoft, and they noticed that your PC is spewing out packets and harming the performance of the Internet. They then ask you to walk through a sequence of steps that if done would give someone the ability to completely control your Windows machine remotely and install all sorts of malware and what not.

The first time they called me I had been taking a nap, so I naively  asked which of my machines was causing the problem, and told them I have Mac computers so it could not be me. After I hung up, I Googled to see what the exact scam entailed and it made sense.

Since then, I've had great fun toying with these guys, and there is a connection to you.

I pretend that I am following their commands, and they ask me to bring a command line prompt and tell them what I see. Then they ask me to type stuff and tell them what I see. At a certain point, I tell them "the screen says B H E N C H O D.... What does that mean?" They are astonished and asked me to read it back three or four times. Then they get really angry. I've been called a "bloody bastard" and more.

The connection is that you taught me this word and its meaning more than 30 years ago, and said that it is quite powerful. You were right!!! :-)

This just happened again on Friday. The caller denied knowing what the phrase meant, even though he was clearly rattled. I told him I would Google it "to see what this error message stood for". I then said "it says you are a sister f******". He then insisted that the "you" in the Google result referred to me and not him. I could barely contain myself, and pretended to Google it again, and said "no, it is saying that it refers to you" and he got even more upset.

This is a really sinister thing they are doing, so I don't mind wasting their time.

Thanks for teaching me that phrase! :-)

John

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha.
Poor D'Souza relegated to telling anecdotes about Bhenchods and columns about numbers. I note the comments field on the election post has still been left disabled. The wound must still be raw. Oh well. Not to worry, your ecosystem is hard at work and a BJP victory in 2019 is far from certain. Your chancellors and presstitutes and judges are hard at work trying to bring us back to poverty.

dog lover said...

haha. It is a good idea from John. :D
I also feel sad when there are someone got called from scammers this way. There are so many complaints that I found at Twitter posts, blogs, or some websites, like http://whycall.me about these fake Microsoft scams. I know it would be hard for police to track them down, but I always hope that someday there are some rules that will really stop them from calling citizens.

pso said...

Hilarious! BTW, Dilip, it's great to see you blogging again.

Cult Jam said...

I live in the US and I'm usually a bit nicer. I tell him/her that the screen reads "choli ke peeche" (I love that song). I was looking for your email address and I came upon your blog. I'm a U.S. filmmaker who wrote a film that lampoons Bobby Jindal. It's called Ivy League Exorcist: The Bobby Jindal Story. You can watch it online and if you have any question email me at cultjampro@gmail.com