The calls came cascading in. One after another after another. Seventeen of them in two days, all from the same number in Welch, West Virginia.
Sixteen of them, there was no one there or a hangup. Seventeenth time was the charm.
The caller was “Ed from Microsoft.” Ed has that distinctive accent that comes from being born, raised and living in India. Ed?
So Ed, I say, what department of Microsoft do you work for?
Instead of answering, he tells me my computer is infected and endangered.
So Ed, I say, you didn’t answer my question.
Ed is busily reading from his script. He needs to take control of my computer so he can fix the problem.
Okay, Ed, so what department of Microsoft are you with?
Well, he says, we’re contractors for Microsoft and they hire us to find problems like yours and fix them.
So, Ed, what contractor and from where, please.
Back to the script.
So, Ed… keep talking. But one more question. Do you know what Interpol is?
Yes, he says.
“Well if I keep you on the phone long enough, Interpol will be able to trace the phony West Virginia number to the real number in Bombay and in an hour, there’ll be a cop at your door.”
So, Ed… this is a scam, right?
Yes, he says. But your Interpol, your FBI and your CIA will never find us.
And he hangs up.
So the scammer admits it. And gets off the phone in a big rush because maybe, just maybe, the guy he called really HAS had Interpol alerted. And maybe, just maybe, they WILL find him.
Some research. Welch, West Virginia is an old town, population about two thousand. It’s tucked into the southwest corner of the state, a little over a hundred miles from Charleston.
Ed probably doesn’t know that, let alone have lived there. His phone number is “virtual” which in telephone company lingo means fake.
What he probably DOES know is that you can’t block a call if your phone service provider is Vonage. That’s probably also true of FIOS, Comcast, Cablevision, Time Warner, Magic Jack, Ooma or any of the other phone services that use the internet instead of the wires on a phone poll.
It’s a selling point for the antiquated and overpriced copper wire (and fiber optic) phone companies now struggling for your business.
Meantime, if you get a call from Ed, don’t answer.
--The latest stand down in the middle east is like so many recent US Supreme Court decisions. It deals with technicalities instead of getting to the meat of the matter. And it’ll work just as well as those technical decisions the supremes issue.
--Burger King is going to Canada as many US conscientious objectors did during the Viet war. But BK’s conscientious objection is to US taxes. So it’s spending $11 billion to take a brave stand on a crucial issue, just ask them.
-Reminder… there are no mergers, just dolled up acquisitions.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
© WRJ 2014