In the past, with Nigerians offering millions for a bit of innocent assistance in money laundering, fake lottery wins, and fictitious charities, I thought all angles had been tried, but a new type of con has infiltrated our part of the world. This one, however, is almost comical in its endeavor.
As I was sitting with a retired English ex-pat last week at our local watering hole, he shared an unusual phone call he received that morning.
“I got this call from a fellow who had a pronounced accent, Pakistani I would guess,” said John P. “He knew my name, how I don’t know, but he tried to sound very official.”
“Allo, is dis Mister P?”
John replied in the affirmative.
“Well, sur, I regret to inform you dat we have detected dat yuur computer has a virus.”
“Really,” John answered, barely suppressing a chuckle, “and how do you know this?”
“Oh yes, Mister P, you see ve are calling from a technical department associated with your service provider, and it seems dat you are in danger of infecting de netvorking,” the Asian IT expert explained.
“And this virus is serious?” John was by now barely able to hide his mirth. “What can I do about this sick computer of mine?”
“Yes, sur, ve are being expert in these technical matters and can have somebody come and fix it at your earliest convenience, but if you don’t mind me asking, you do not sound terribly concerned Mister P.” The caller had detected the lack of anxiety in John’s tone.
“That is because I do not own a computer, never have, and never will,” John laughed.
A few days later our phone rang, a little too early for our liking, and the caller ID read “out of area,” meaning anonymous, which automatically raised suspicion of some type of telemarketing.
“Allo, is dis Mister Fugun?”
I replied that indeed I was, where upon he asked a couple of times if I spoke English. I immediately cottoned to what was up and decided to play along, the idea being to reverse the con and give this techno-expert the address of the local precinct as our home. However the next question sort of gave the game away.
“Do you have a computer?” Obviously this scammer had learned the lesson. In order to claim a PC had a virus, it was necessary to establish whether the answerer actually owned a computer. I confirmed such ownership.
“Ah good.” My caller sounded relieved by this progress. “Ve are from technical data services affiliated through your service provider, via de IP netvorking in dis region, and ve are repairing da problem to improve everyone’s Internet links.”
They had obviously upped their game in techno-bamboozle-babble, but I inadvertently spoiled my counter ploy by saying that I was my own service provider.
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