Kevin Page: The scam's up: We're too small

By Kevin Page

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Kevin Page
Kevin Page

Any minute now my phone is going to ring.

I know this because it has rung at this time of day, every day, for most of the last week.

Silly thing is, I know exactly who it's going to be.

Those nice chaps from the Bombay Microsoft scam, or BMS to give them their full corporate title, that's who.

As soon as they tell me they are from Microsoft (who apparently never ring anyone; wonder how they cope if they need the fire brigade or a pizza delivery?) we'll go into what's become a regular routine.

The BMS lads will ask me if I'm the person in charge of the computer in my house. I'll say yes, trying to sound puzzled but not letting on I know it's a con designed to access my computer and pilfer my bank account. They'll ask me to sit at the computer, turn it on and have a look at the number in the bottom corner.

I'll say I'm doing that but I'll actually be walking across my kitchen and sticking the jug on.

Then he'll ask me to read out the numbers because I may have a "serious problem".

About now I'll feign concern and say something like: "Oh my God. That's the last thing I need. I've got a huge international money transfer to make this afternoon and I need the computer."

You can practically hear the drooling at the other end of the line.

Then I'll say: "Hang on. There's a message come up. Have you got a pen? I'll read it out to you."

Now, up to this point the conversation has been extremely civil. I am always called "Sir".

There is no reason to think it will change.

And it doesn't. Not even when I slowly and methodically spell out a four-letter word followed by "off".

There is a moment's pause as he works out he's been duped then he says: "You (insert your preference here) off too sir," and hangs up.

Now, the fact that this has kept happening means one of two things. Either I am a great source of entertainment to BMS or the guy in charge of the New Zealand desk has run out of work.

If you think about it, BMS is obviously quite a big operation, it's not going to be run from the back of a takeaway in a side street.

They must have hundreds of people, possibly even thousands, doing the same thing. Day in, day out. Going through the phonebook of every country in the world.

The guy who got the New Zealand desk must have thought he was in clover. Until he realised there's only four million of us. He's got five staff working for him all ringing us poor old Kiwis. He has to share the office, and half the table with the poor sods who have to scam Mongolia and Finland all on their own.

Mind you, it's not all that bad. He's got a window. He looks across the corridor in envy at the United States desk. The bloke there has 250 people working for him. They've got calls (and work) planned for the next 50 years.

But not on the New Zealand desk. He's been through the phonebook twice already.

Now he's going round again and just trying to fill in time till he can get a transfer over to the USA desk. I think I might ring his boss and dob him in. I just need to find the number.

It might require a few calls and a bit of time but I'm sure I'll eventually find someone who knows who he is.

Luckily, I've got a Bombay phonebook lying around. I use it as a footstool. It's just the right height. I'll get right on it. But I'll just answer the phone first.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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