Hobo's blog

Hobo Hudson, business dog, author and farmer, shares his latest news and stories about his life and gives prudent advice to his fellow dogs, cats and other animals—humans included.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Defeating phishing

By Hobo Hudson

Dad has been plagued with phone calls for quite a while from nice sounding ladies “from Microsoft” telling him he has a major problem with his computer and Microsoft has hired them to help its users fix the problem. However, they all spoke English with a very heavy Indian accent and were difficult to understand.

At first, Dad would just hang up, but I suggested a better solution would be for Dad to try to melt their telephone wires with some choice words that Dad is so capable of using when he wants to get a point across. This didn’t appear to do any good, and my keen terrier mind soon deduced the callers probably didn’t know enough English to know what Dad’s words meant.

After mulling the problem over, I realized the callers were working on percentages. They knew most Americans would know it was a scam and would just hang up, so they would just shrug and go on to the next call. Sooner or later, they would land a victim who was not aware of the plot.

Dad and I put our heads together and came up with a better solution, which I would encourage all my readers to try.

The phone rang Saturday morning, and when Dad answered, a lady with a pleasant voice told him that she was from Microsoft and that the company was trying to repair a problem with Dad’s computer, She spoke perfect English, but there was a trace of a foreign accent which Dad thinks might have been Ukrainian, and Dad decided this would be the perfect moment to put our new plan into effect. I’ll give you the actual conversation below:

Dad: “Could you hold just a moment? I’ve got someone at the door.”
Caller: “Of course.”
Some 5 minutes later: Dad: “Sorry to keep you waiting. Would you please start all over?”
Caller: “As I said, you have a serious problem and Microsoft wants to help you in repairing it. I need you to go sit in front of your computer and I’ll tell you what to do.”
Dad: “All right but I haven’t turned it on yet. Can you wait a few minutes while it boots up?”
Dad now lays the phone down and goes into the kitchen to pour another cup of coffee. Returning some three minutes later, he picks up the phone and says: “Sorry for the delay. I had to crawl under the desk to plug it in.”
Caller: “No problem.”
Dad: “I just started booting.”
Some 10 minutes later: Dad: “OK, it’s booted up. What should I do now?”
Caller: “Click on the browser line and type in the following ……….”
Dad: “OK.” About a minute later, Dad: “I must have typed something wrong. Give it to me again.”
Caller: “……….”
Dad: “Now I see my problem. About another minute later, Dad again: “That’s odd. I have a message from Windows Defender telling me to read the following to you.”
Caller: “O…K.”
Dad: “Get an honest job and stop trying to scam us.”
Caller: Click.

Mom, Dad and I got a big laugh out of this but, more importantly, we kept the scammer tied up for probably 20 minutes and prevented her from calling other prospective suckers. Interestingly, Dad hasn’t had another suspicious phone call for the past few days. Maybe word gets around?

Remember, Microsoft does not telephone users with offers of help and anyone calling is a fake. If all my readers would follow a similar script and pass it on to their friends, we could make a serious dent in the number of computer scams.


Foley Monster and Pocket said...

Good for you and your Dad



My name is Hobo Hudson. I’ve always considered myself a terrier mix, and I’m going to leave it at that. I used to share my mom’s website writing about my life, but Mom’s stories somehow got in my way. So, I deemed it more appropriate to open my own blog, which also allows me to engage my siblings in writing posts if I’m running short on time. After all, I’m a busy dog. My mom helps me with my blog now and then, but I think it’s only to safeguard my good reputation. Her website, newsandtales.com, contains some great stories.
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Bruny Hudson, manager and editor of Newsandtales.com, assists as a consultant with Hobo’s blog.
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