The day after my Pharmaprix-Optimum card fiasco, I get a call from an Indian woman who works for Microsoft security systems who says that my computer may crash at any moment (FEAR) and if I care at all about my computer (SHAME) I should listen to her. I ask her about how she got my number and it all seems so fishy but it also is kind of scary to imagine a new virus ruining my computer…And I ask her if she is going to eventually tell me that I need to spend money on a system and she says absolutely not—we are just checking to see if I am affected by this new scary virus…And I know almost for sure that it is a crock when she refers to people in my “state” having the highest rates of infection (I live in a province). She tells me that 5% of people are affected. Can we just check if I am one of them? I say yes—because she has managed to scare and shame me enough to check it out a bit further. Indeed, after she gets me to do a few tricks on my computer, tons of scary looking errors show up. Wow! (MORE FEAR). I get sent on to a more important supervisor type (MAKING ME FEEL CARED FOR) who will help me. And I ask him how I know he is legitimate and he understands my concern (VALIDATION AND UNDERSTANDING). He will send me everything my email he says so I can check it out. So he gets these special agents to do stuff in my computer—now this is real fear!—I can see the cursor of potentially evil hackers moving around. And indeed there are a massive number of scary errors that have infected my system which could crash at any moment. Now according to the nice compassionate Indian helper-guy, I can fix this and stay protected by spending 185 or 275 euros (!!?) for two or four years–it is entirely up to me. So now, I have wasting almost an hour being manipulated by people in India working for some massive European scam and the conclusion is now that I need to pay them more money than my original computer costs me to help rid me of these errors which I had never noticed (and which these people probably invented). I ask him to send me all of the info by email so that I can have my real live in front of me computer guy check it over and advise me. He told me that if he was not a Microsoft employee he would not be aware of this new scary virus and would not be able to help me. I said that I still would prefer to discuss their service over with him.
He pretended to take down my email address. He never sent the info. This shit is fucking disturbing. I wasted one hour of my precious day off.
I think of the huge number of people getting sucked in to this greedy fear mongering.