Scam calls


About twice a week I get a phone call from an out of Canada number, and a heavily accented voice tells me they are calling “About your Windows Computer”. These calls annoy me because they are made by confidence tricksters, scam artists and liars who want to invade my writing time with their falsehoods.

At first I used to simply shut the call off with a snarled “Fuck off” but now I’m becoming more nuanced in my response.

One of my favourite tricks is to put the cordless handset back on its charging station and wander off to make a cup of tea, stare out at the weather, switch on the TV while the poor drone on the other end of the line witters on and on. I reason thus; if I can waste enough of their time, it will give the scam artists less time to find more gullible people, and thence I perform a valuable social service. Fewer people get conned because there are only so many hours in the phoning day. Unfortunately, the more savvy realise I’ve disappeared, and close the call to dial the next number, who may not be as cynical as myself.

My next line of response is more sophisticated, and relies on the ignorance of the phone drone making the scam call. “My Windows Computer? Oh, the thing I use for word processing?” Is my response. Let them witter on having placed the phone back on its cradle in hands free mode, and tell them I have an Imperial Safari word processor with manual keyboard and real time printer array. An old fashioned manual typewriter. Pre 1980. Having had one of the aforementioned back in the 1980’s, I’m qualified to do what my wife calls ‘going into full bullshit mode’ on this topic. You needed to hit the keys with some vigour to make an imprint of a carbon flimsy, but it was robust, and I must have rattled off over 100,000 words on it until it was passed on within the family, and I moved on to working with a word processor.

Regardless, next time one of these scammers calls, they might not be dazzled by my brilliance or lack thereof, but I’ll sure as hell baffle them with bullshit. I will waste their time and phone bill, which may be the only justice one can ever get when dealing with these bastards.

Highlight of this morning was getting namechecked by Wattsupwiththat.com for tipping them off about this story.

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Martyn K Jones

A writer who first trained as an Electrical Engineer, then fulfilled various roles within the computing industry. First published in 'SuperBike' magazine, 1978 under the pseudonym Harry Matthews. Since then has written and had published a wide variety of work; from PR copy in trade magazines to supernatural short stories and the occasional satirical article. Emigrated to Canada in 2007. Became a Canadian Citizen December 2014. Now branching out as a serious science fiction novelist.

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