Thanks to A. Marie Silver for inspiring another post. For years when I had a landline, I got calls from a gentleman, usually with an accent, claiming to be from Microsoft. He told me he was getting error messages from my computer. The first time he called, my PC wasn’t even on. I hung up, realizing it was probably a scam. Until I had my landline disconnected, he kept calling, and I kept hanging up.
It has since occurred to me that I could have tried to fight fire with fire. Here’s how such a phone call might have gone if I’d been using my head.
Scammer: Hello, Mrs. Taylor, this is So So from Microsoft. How are you today?
Me: Fine thanks, how about you?
Scammer: I’m great. Thanks for asking. I’m calling today because I’ve been getting error messages from your computer.
Me: Oh really, it’s funny you should call. I heard about your scam, but don’t hang up. I want to help you.
Me: Yes, I’ll give you whatever information you need if you’ll do something for me.
Scammer: Okay, what?
Me: I’m a writer. Surely you’ve heard of me. My last ten books made the New York Times #1 bestseller list.
Scammer: No, I don’t think so.
Me: Well, anyway, I’m writing a book about people like you, social engineers. I need you to tell me about people you’ve successfully scammed and why you did it. This could be another bestseller for me. I could make a lot of money and maybe give you a percentage plus the information you need about my computer.
Scammer: Are you trying to scam me?
Me: Of course I am. How does that make you feel?
Scammer: Well, I’m pissed off. Duh!
Me: All right then, why do you like pissing off other people by scamming them?
Scammer: End call.
Now that I just have a cell phone, I don’t receive such calls anymore. I wish I’d thought of the above plan when I had the landline. Oh well, that’s life.
Author Abbie Johnson Taylor
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver
That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Click to hear an audio trailer.