Of ‘Pings’ and Paranoia

Apr 17, 2012 | 3 comments

Phone Lines in India?

     The phone rang about three o’clock yesterday afternoon and a pleasant (though hesitant), East Indian sounding voice, asked if he was speaking to Mrs. Stevens.
     “Yes,” I said, but maybe a bit tentatively.  A salesman?
     “How are you today?”
     “Fine.”  This time I was definitely tentative.
     “I am calling from Microsoft and you have a computer.  Is this true?”
     “Yes?” I’m pretty sure that now I had the beginnings of a tone.
     “How are you today?” came the voice.  Didn’t we just go over that?
     “I’m still fine.”  Time to cut to the chase, fella.
     It seems that ‘they’ were receiving many warning ‘pings’ each time I opened an email or logged onto the internet.
     “Warning pings?’ I asked.
     “Yes.  Your computer is full of viruses.  It is going to crash. Are you in front of your computer screen right now?”
     “No,” I lied.
     “If you go to your computer screen, I can tell you what to do.  Can you do that now?”
     “No, I can’t.”
     “Your computer is going to crash.  If you go to your computer right away, I can help you.”
     I extricated myself by getting his phone number and his name – Mr. Patrick – and promised I’d call.  Like that’s going to happen.
     Then I went to Snopes but I couldn’t find anything similar.  It’s unsettling…


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    It is true that many computer security companies have their call centers in India. I’ve talked to them. They are helpful and nice, but I’ve always called THEM, not the other way around. If you have concerns about your computer, call Norton or whoever you have for a security company. They can walk you through steps to make sure that your computer is fine–which I’m sure it is. Your experience sounds similar to the emails we get from African princes needing someone to help them get money into the US only you have to GIVE them money. I always offer to contact the attorney general for them and then that particular one goes away.

  2. Amy

    Hi Sydney,

    Definitely fishy… However, if you’d like to verify that you are free of viruses you can use this website.

    It is safe and I’ve used it many times in the past: http://housecall.trendmicro.com/

  3. Kitt

    Seems like you dodged a “computer hack!” I know that your computer can be fixed via the internet, BUT I have always gone through my Security provider or HP (my laptop maker). Actually, your experience is quite unnerving and scary. How many people would automatically fall for the phone call, and end up compromising their computer and all the data stored in it? The days are gone of unlocked front doors and keys in the car! ;-(


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