Am I stupid? Was I born yesterday?
I have written in the past on my own blog (nlpnow.com) of unwanted telephone calls, silent calls, and calls that say, "Congratulations, you have ........", all disrupting my day, evenings and work, and some from outside the UK.
Today the telephone rang and the phone displayed 03606339006, not a number known to me, and not looking like a UK number, so I am ready for them.
They start, "Hello can I speak to Mr Holt?, My name is Mike".
So this person calls himself Mike, but has an Indian accent, there is a long delay on the line, from when I speak and there is a reply, and I can hear my voice echoed back, so obviously not originating from the UK.
I ask, "What is your real name? What part of India do you come from?"
His reply, "No I am British."
The line went dead.
Two minutes later the phone rang again, this time 04524069010.
Still the same person, still same strong Indian accent, so let's play him along, I know your game "Mike".
He tells me he is from a virus checking company, and that my computer has a virus.
"Oh Poo Poo (short for sh-t) I say, what can I do?"
He asked me to switch my machine on.
"What so you can access my machine."
Do you think I am stupid so called Mike with a hard Indian accent?
You are a scammer, you are the dirt of the world attacking venerable people.
WARNING If you get a call from 04524069010 or 03606339006 put the phone down.
The idea is that they target unsuspecting people, people with little or no knowledge of computers or the internet, and tell them that there is a virus on the computer.
How do they know?
They say they have had a report from Microsoft or some other company, and that they can remove the offending file. They get the person to believe that they work for say Microsoft, which sounds very plausible, but Microsoft has disowned them, has nothing to do with them, and any licenses held by the calling company have been withdrawn.
Once they have access to your machine, they will have free run on it, being able to see all of your data, emails, email addresses, address books, confidential information.
As you watch, you will see your screen changing, and they will access a file, open it up, and show you error messages, and all sorts of other information.
Or they will ask you to open a program called Windows Event Viewer, to the unknowing the file that is opened is worrying, as it contains error warnings, critical messages, but all PC's have this file, it is normal.
They will tell you that your computer is infected, and that they can fix it, just download a program from a web site they will give you, and once done they are in to your machine.
They will charge you a sum of money to subscribe to their service, say £200, before they will start any work, but there is nothing wrong with your computer.
Not only have they access to your computer and data, you will have given them your credit card details, your PayPal or AlertPay account details.
The calls have been running for many years, and the main company responsible for the call centres is based in Calcutta or as it is known Kolkata, in India, the Guardian Newspaper also names the town of Kota in Rajasthan.
Unfortunately, the British authorities are unable or unwilling to tackle this scam, as the telephone numbers are not allocated by telephone service providers like BT or Virgin Media, but are sold by VoIP (Voice over the Internet Protocol, Voice over the Internet Provider) providers, and costs the scammers virtually nothing as the calls are over the internet.
Again, it is such a pity the Indian Government does not stop these scammers, thieves, because it is surely not good publicity for their country, and as people receive a telephone call and hear an Indian voice on the telephone, they know there is a good chance that it is a cold call, unwanted call, and just put the receiver down.
Perhaps that is why many responsible British companies who placed their call centres in India are now returning to their home shores.
If you have been a victim in the UK, you can report the incident to Action Fraud.
Oh, so called Mike, just to let you know, I use an Apple computer.