I can let a lot of irritating things slide.
Annoying phone calls are not among them.
Try as I might to avoid getting them (and I’ve tried just about everything that everyone’s suggested), they keep on coming.
Many of them seem to ring one or two times then abruptly stop. The few times I’ve called back out of curiosity, I get a message that “the person you are calling is not available.” So there.
Then there are calls that sometimes leave messages telling me I won an all-expenses paid something-or-another or they’re calling me about my credit card. The latter are quick to assure there’s nothing wrong. They just want to offer me the Best Deal Ever. No thanks.
But the ones that really get me are the Scam Calls. A couple years ago, I got one on our landline from someone purporting to be the IRS telling me I was in deep doggie poop because I hadn’t paid my taxes. If I didn’t call immediately I could be arrested.
Since we’ve never not paid our taxes, I wasn’t sweating it. And while I may have called back to voice my displeasure (and yep, wrote a column about it), I otherwise disregarded the intrusion.
For a while, we seemed to be off the scammer radar. But all good things must come to an end. And did. On Wednesday.
This time, the scam came on my cell phone. Because I was awaiting a call from a number I didn’t think I’d recognize, I picked up.
It was a robocall. Here’s how it began:
Hi. This call is to notify you that your computer’s Microsoft Windows license key has been expired so Microsoft Corporation has stopped the windows services in your computer to renew the Microsoft Windows license key please call 855-476-3452. Let me repeat this is a very important call to notify you …. And thus it went, blah, blah, blah.
As it happened, I’d already heard of this scheme so I initially was going to ignore it. But I was ticked off enough that I decided to call back. A real person with thickly accented English answered and before he could get beyond “Hello” I told him that the Microsoft threat was just BS, that they were only trying to get my money and to never call me again. Then I hung up. And felt much better.
The next day, for snicks, I googled the number, already knowing what I’d find: that it was indeed a scam call. A bunch of people had posted that, including several who had Macs.
But what concerned me … and spurred me to write about this kind of thing again … is that a few people took the fraud seriously enough that they were wondering what to do to get their MS “license key” back.
The answer is simple: Do Nothing. Except stay vigilant for the next scammer … who’s likely just around the corner.