There you are, minding your business on a Saturday morning. You’re intelligent, or like to think you are, and you know what you’re doing, you think. You aren’t going to be caught out by the world beyond your computer, which is a bit slow, but hey that’s life.
The phone rings. It is an associate of Microsoft calling you, because his company, a partner of Microsoft, has been asked to contact customers who have a fault on their computer. He can prove who he is, and he gives you a number to call (02032867078) and an address, too, 119/121 Westbourne Grove, London W2 4UP. He is called ‘John Abraham’. He has an accent somewhere from the Indian sub-continent, and he directs you to various entries in your registry which say ‘Warning’ or ‘Error’. ‘More than 20, oh dear, oh dear.’ His company is the one who made the faulty part and has undertaken to fix them for their partners, Microsoft.
He has my address.
This is the kind of alarming image you are shown when you search ‘eventvwr’. It is in fact absolutely normal:
I am asked to go to e-prosolution.com. There are banner headings, one of which reads Hello! We are professional team of Software designers and we would like to share our with you! (sic) But I don’t spot this until later, of course. John Abraham is speaking very quickly, and sometimes incomprehensibly. He also fails to connect me to his site, because (the machine says) my firewall is blocking it. He calls his supervisor. His supervisor gets me to use Firefox. Bingo. I can give him access to my machine (his supervisor is speaking even more speedily), and he can fix the error, which a virus has made endemic in the whole world. It’s Saturday and I am tired. They are going to take forty minutes to fix my machine, but we’ve only just managed to connect.
Hello, what’s this? It’s a payment screen. All I have to do is to pay them £169. Incredulously, I ask them if they’re joking. But they’re not. They can fix in 40 minutes what local agents will take hours and shedloads of cash to solve.
I ring off and contact The Geek Squad. They may be partners with Carphone Warehouse (hmmm) but they are by far the best support network there is. ‘It’s a scam,’ they say.
It would be irresponsible of me to ask you to ring John Abraham (see above) and give him a piece of my mind.