“Please Press 1 to speak with a Microsoft Certified Technician.”

I guess the Windows technical support scammers are getting robo-dialers, because I got an automated call over the weekend telling me that my computer was sending alerts to their servers, and to press “1” to speak with a Microsoft Certified technician.

So I pressed “1” to see what tactics this particular scammer would use.After introducing himself as “Damon,” he told me my computer was sending alerts to his servers and that something about a “70% protection service” wasn’t working. I made him repeat that about three times.

“There’s no such thing as a ‘70% protection service,'” I said.

“Maybe 65% of your protection service isn’t working then,” he said. Clearly we were talking past each other. I guess that line of technobabble works on some victims.

He continued. “Your computer is not working properly. Let me show you.”

“My computer is working fine,” I said.

“Your computer is working fine but your protection service is not working. I’ll show you.”

“Your buddy ‘Daniel’ called me the other night and told me the errors were invisible,” I said. Really, some other scammer really did.

“No, they are not invisible,” he said. “I’ll show you.”

I sat down at my computer. “What do you want me to bring up? Services.msc?”

“What?”

“I am a computer professional, so don’t patronize me by telling me to press a Windows key or something. Tell me what you want me to bring up and I’ll bring it up, but don’t waste 30 minutes of my time.”

Click.

Two minutes, forty-one seconds. Lately when I say I’m a computer professional they decide to argue with me and sometimes get really hostile. I guess it depends how dumb of a criminal happens to call you. It’s smart for him to cut his losses and move on when he realizes he won’t be making any money off me; but the dumb ones will waste 30 minutes trying to prove they know more than I do, or trying to scare me into giving them money.

As long as they keep calling me, I’ll keep documenting their tactics, and trolling them.

Chances are he was going to walk me through the Windows services, probably in msconfig.exe (which would explain why he didn’t know what “services.msc” is–but a legitimate computer professional generally will) and tell me since half of them weren’t in a running state at that moment in time, I have a virus. What these crooks don’t want you to know is that it’s perfectly normal for most Windows services to idle themselves and start back up only when needed–that saves a lot of memory and CPU cycles–so this is just a scare tactic.

And yes, I was a good boy and reported their fake phone number (1-949-000-7676) to www.callercenter.com.

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