Lessons in Social Engineering: Some things shouldn’t be licked

***Based on actual events. Some details have been altered or enhanced for entertainment purposes.***

As I mentioned in my first post on this topic, I’ve been plagued by phone calls from individuals claiming to be from Microsoft, advising me that my computer was sending them error messages and they needed access to my computer to fix the problem. SCAM ALERT! Microsoft will NEVER call you regarding a problem on your computer!

That being said, because I have a tendency to be snarky, I’ve opted to have a little fun with these scammers. In the following phone call, I talk about Linux. In case you’re unaware, Linux is an operating system just like Microsoft Windows or Mac OS.

The version of Linux that I have installed on my play computer is Ubuntu. Ubuntu – at one point – offered different desktop versions of this operating system. Because life isn’t confusing enough. We can’t have one version of software with one kind of desktop. Nope. We have to have options that are confusing. Sigh. The desktop version I chose was called “Cinnamon.” I’ve heard there’s also a Mint and a few other flavors. I have no idea what the difference between these versions are. Maybe the icons sit on the right side of the desktop instead of the left. Or maybe their trick icons – they hide when they know you’re trying to find them or explode into animated confetti. Who the heck knows?

Now that I’ve completely confused myself and probably anyone reading this, here’s the phone conversation I had with “Microsoft.” This time, the scammer spoke with a heavy accent. He could’ve been from India.

Me: Hello?

Scammer: Yes, good evening. I’m calling from Microsoft to inform you that your computer has been sending out error messages and we need to fix it.

Me: Um….I don’t think so.

Scammer: Yes! It’s imperative that you cooperate!

Me: No…you don’t understand…..

Scammer: I understand many things, like the fate of your hard drive if you don’t let me login.

Me: And I think it’s fantastic that you’re trying to help but I don’t have Microsoft on my computer.

Scammer: What do you mean you don’t have Microsoft. Everybody has Microsoft.

Me:  Not me. I have Linux.

Scammer: Linux?

Me: Yeah. It’s free open-source software-

Scammer: I know what Linux is! And I’m telling you that you don’t have it on your computer.

Me: Yes, I do! I’ve spent the entire day licking my computer.

Scammer: You what? What do you mean you’ve been licking your computer.

Me: I downloaded the cinnamon version on my computer and I’ll tell you something, those Linux people are total scam artists! I have licked and licked and licked my computer, hoping for a burst of cinnamon and the only thing I have is a foul taste in my mouth and tongue marks all over my monitor.

Scammer: Come on, now. You’re pulling my –

Me (interrupting): My husband saw the tongue marks on my computer and asked what they were. I told him the 3 year old did it, which, in my defense, she does have a habit of licking things: windows, furniture, her brother, the cat. It’s like she wanders around the house all day until she finds something interesting and says to herself, “I wonder what that tastes like. Stainless steel! Yum!”

Scammer: Oh stop! No one could be that stupid.

Me: Hey! I resent that! My brain might not be running the latest update but at least I know better than to think Microsoft would actually call me about an error message.

Scammer (yelling at me): This is Microsoft and you do have a virus on your computer!

Me: Well if my husband manages to rescue my computer from the sand inside of it, I’ll have him take a look at the error messages next.

Scammer: Sand? Why is there sand in your computer?

Me: Because I was trying to install a sandbox!

Scammer: A what?

Me: Oh my God! I don’t have time for this! Read my blog!

[End Call]

Let this be a warning to phone scammers everywhere: I will use every conversation as an attempt to plug my blog.

Now it’s your turn! Have you ever received a call from a phone scammer? Please share your experiences in the comments!


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17 thoughts on “Lessons in Social Engineering: Some things shouldn’t be licked

  1. Not as much since I got rid of my landline in 2012 but from time to time I do get weird emails telling me that some strange person that I don’t know has a rather large amount of money for me. I just delete those nutty messages.

    For the Microsoft lickers I offer up the Triple Dog Dare you option for the scammers.


    1. I’ve never received those emails but I get the ones advertising a penis enlargement a lot. After talking about it with my husband, we both decided that me getting a penis enlargement would not be in our family’s best interest.

  2. “I’m sorry…who are you calling? Because I don’t have a phone.” Serious fun right there. Or tell them you don’t speak a word of English, so could they talk slowly?

    Or go stand in front of the washing machine or dishwasher and read off the buttons/display. “It says ‘refill rinse aid’. Is that from the virus too?”

    Generally I try to be kind to telemarketers, because everyone has to make a living…but the “virus” people don’t get the same mercy.

    1. Oh…we used to do the same to those scammers who’d call the office needing the serial number on our copiers so they could send us toner. We’d read stuff like ID10T or D1RT8AG (or worse.) Great entertainment back in the days of no internet.

  3. Hi,
    I met you at Jason Cushman’s Meet and Greet, so I came to Meet and Greet you. As far as Ellen DeGeneres: I like her too. She’s really funny. As far as what you wrote about your husband’s opinion of Donald Trump– I’m with your husband. However, many people give Donald Trump a piece of their minds and nothing help.
    Maybe you can check out my blog if you need a blogging tip or two. That’s what I write about.

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