Time to Have a Little Fun

Time to Have a Little Fun
Terry Odell

It’s summer. People are on vacation. Escaping the heat. Or trying to. As a diversion, I thought we might take a few minutes to have a little fun.

I confess that I’ve had some fun with the–ahem– “Microsoft” callers because they’re live people.  When they tell me my computer has notified them it’s been compromised, I ask them which computer they’re talking about.  I say I have five. Obviously, if my computer told them it was infected, they have to know which one it is, right? Apparently not. I’ve also lied and told them none of my computers are running Windows.


Emails are a different game. I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets the occasional spam that sneaks past filters. Akismet, which I use on my website, is great. My business email account has very good filters, too.

One of my former personal email accounts let a lot of spam through. Their company philosophy was that deleting spam was comparable to censorship, although they sent most of it to a junk folder. Every now and then, I’d skim through the messages. First, of course, to make sure nothing legitimate had been sent there. Second, because the messages were often sources of amusement, which I’d share to my Facebook page.

One thing we’re told is never to respond to these messages. All that does is prove your email address is valid and opens you up for more spam.

But what if we could? Haven’t you been tempted? How many times has my nonexistent McAfee subscription run out? How many DeWalt power tools have I won? (Although now they seem to be Stanley.)

Have you had the “I’ve accessed your computer and have video proof that you’re watching/participating in porn. Pay me the equivalent of $X in bitcoin by such and such a date/time, or I’ll release them for the world to see” message? I have. More than once.

My “Oh, if only I dared” response would be:

“OMG, I thought I’d lost those videos. Thank you SO much for finding them! PLEASE send them to me ASAP!”

(It’s important to use lots of exclamation points and caps!)

You’re creative people. Your turn to play.

How would you answer if you dared?

Feel free to share your own “pet spam” messages and replies.

Cover image of Deadly Relations by Terry OdellAvailable Now
Deadly Relations.
Nothing Ever Happens in Mapleton … Until it Does
Gordon Hepler, Mapleton, Colorado’s Police Chief, is called away from a quiet Sunday with his wife to an emergency situation at the home he’s planning to sell. A man has chained himself to the front porch, threatening to set off an explosive.

Terry Odell is an award-winning author of Mystery and Romantic Suspense, although she prefers to think of them all as “Mysteries with Relationships.”

34 thoughts on “Time to Have a Little Fun

  1. Terry, I’ve had a great deal of fun with those frauds, in several different forms.

    The porn ransom: My response is: “Help me here. Are these the videos of me with your mother or your sister? Or both?”

    Jamaican Lottery: When they would ask if they were speaking to “Mr. Joseph” I would say, “No, mon, dis is Desmond Dekker. I and I had a big hit called “Israelites” that was playing in 1968 when your grandpapa did plant his wort’less seed and produce your daddy, who lay wit’ da beast a da field and helped conceive you!”

    There’s more. But I will stop here. Thanks for the great post, Terry! Hope you’re having a good week!

  2. I literally have the McAfee popup open on my computer as I was reading this article 🙂

    I’ve never responded to these things, and now with caller ID I don’t even pick up. Too much energy (though now I don’t want to pick up the phone at all).

    But if I dared… “Keep them just in case your internet runs out.” That’s all I got.

    • Our landline has a very good screening setup. When a number not on my approved list calls, they get a recording saying to press 1 or stay on the line to continue. Robots can’t press one. (Yet) so if my landline rings, it’s either a real person or a recording longer than 30 seconds that was triggered by the automatic message.

  3. If my daughter is bored she’ll actually answer a spam call and if it’s live she’ll pretend to be a clueless little old lady. When she hooks them and they ask for personal information she’ll tell them to hold on while she finds it. They usually hang around for 5 minutes before they realized they’ve been spammed.

    • In the pre internet/email days, I’d use that same “Hold for just a minute, please” ploy, set the phone down, and go about my business. Works very well.

  4. I admit I don’t have much of a sense of humor when it comes to spammers. I’ve probably gotten most of the spam emails (Including the video one), and I just delete and move on.

    However, a friend of ours says he will occasionally answer the phone and keep the spammer on the line as long as possible. He thinks it’s funny to see how long they’ll listen to him ramble on until they finally realize what’s going on and hang up.

    • My thoughts on keeping the spammers talking was that while they were occupied with me, they couldn’t be fleecing some poor innocent. Times have changed since our only annoying phone calls were from telemarketers.

  5. Hilarious start to my Wednesday . . . thanks, Terry!

    I don’t really have a funny phone/email spam story to tell-or at least, I can’t remember one. Oy!

    But, let’s talk social media.

    I am constantly entertained by receiving friend/follow requests by the likes of Keanu Reeves, Tom Cruise, etc., and a whole host of handsome military guys stationed in Iraq, Israel, Russia, and other places around the world. Some of the nicest looking bots on the internet.

    I haven’t come up with a clever come-back, though. I just delete their butts. 🙂

    • I have been an “IT Guy” for a long time. My favorite, witch sadly still holds is “Everything I needed to know about email security I learned from a naked tennis star.”

      It was 2001 and the Anna Kournikova virus was circling the globe. It offered naked pictures of Ms. Kournikova as a screen saver. What it did was delete all of your MS Office files. Should you have a naked woman screen saver on your work computer? Well, no. Many people called their IT desks not because they didn’t have any Word docs, but they didn’t have a naked tennis star.

      The warning also included sage advice like, “Do you normally get emails from Michael Jordan? No? It is a virus delete it.

  6. Good morning, Terry. I’m enjoying the comments you are getting, but, I don’t have anything interesting to add. We have a land line, and all the spammers hang up after the 4th ring, before the recording kicks in. Online, I get the daily notices from my “Microsoft account” that my computer has been accessed by someone in Russia. And I get the weekly McAfee notices that my subscription has run out.

    I’m afraid to answer or respond to the phone spam for fear that my voice would be recorded, then used with AI. Online, it’s probably a waste of time to report phishing. I doubt that anything is being done with the reports.

    Sorry for such a boring response. But I’m enjoying the comments of others with a real sense of humor.

    • Glad your enjoying the comments, Steve. Ignoring is the best way to go, but sometimes the urge to reply makes demands. This is a safer way to do it.

  7. Today’s post and comments have provided me with some wonderful laughs 🙂 Thanks, Terry!

    One spoof the spammer approach to the Windows grift call to say I have a Mac, and then listen as they either hang up or try to tell you why there’s a problem with Mac OS and see how long you can go before laughing.

    When I had a landline, these sorts of calls were a problem, but no more.

    • You’re welcome, Dale. We maintain a landline as they work in emergency situations. Our provider’s anti-spam option keeps unwanted calls to a minimum. Plus when we moved up here, cell reception was unreliable.

  8. Generally I don’t answer unless I recognize the number. However, several years ago, I did answer a robocall that made me laugh. A deep baritone masculine voice said, “Hi, this is Barbara…”

    • And nowadays, that might have been from Barbara!
      Depending on what I’m doing, I might answer an unknown caller. I did yesterday, and it was the salesperson at Lowe’s telling us about the door we ordered. Don’t know why the phone doesn’t show the company, but I figure answering is only going to take a minute, and I can get rid of a spammer very quickly. And sometimes they can be good writing fodder!

  9. They’ve stopped recently, but I was getting spam calls about promoting and maybe publishing GUARDIAN ANGEL because “agents had recommended it for their service.” I actually talked to the person on the first call and told them it had a publisher, etc., and I wasn’t interested. They continued on so I hung up. They kept changing the name of their service, but it was the same Indian accent and set up. I was getting a few calls every week. Very annoying. I told one that I hoped “Kali would eat his soul for being a spammer.” He actually gasped, but the calls kept coming.

    The way spam calls are bunched together and come within hours of each other, I wonder if these centers sell my number to each other even though I hang up immediately. So the spammers are spamming the spammers. A nice thought.

    • I had calls from a New York agency wanting to publish one of my books. When I asked why she wanted book 3 in a series, her script provided no answer. I looked up the company. They do exist, but I certainly wasn’t going to do business with them.

  10. I once got a call from my cable company. The young sales guy asked if I’d be interested in getting a hundred more channels for a mere $5 a month more.

    I said, “No, but I will pay if I can get fewer channels. Can you do that?”

    The stammering was priceless.

  11. Scammers were calling my mother. Every few days I would look at her phone logs and set an auto forward to the FBI office that matched the area code of the scam calls.

    • My mom got the “Grandma, I was in an accident and I need money” call. Fortunately, her caregiver was there, overheard the call, and called me on her cell phone. I had her tell my mom to hang up immediately–first of all, why would my son call his grandmother, and he calls her Oma, not Grandma–and not his parents. I reported the call, but I doubt much can be done. I’m sure they change numbers or spoof them.

  12. I am the IT Guy. I got a frantic call from a user. Her wallpaper had changed to an FBI warning about child pornography. While they are insisting they did no such thing, I cleaned the virus up (it wasn’t much) and assured her I didn’t think she was into Child Porn and that the FBI was not coming calling.

    “How can you be sure?”

    “If the FBI thinks you have child porn on your computer they send agents with guns and warrants, not change your wallpaper. Also, the FBI is going to spell pedophile correctly.”

  13. I rarely anser numbers I don’t know and if I do, I don’t say anything. I don’t want the crooks using my voice for nefarious AI purposes. However, many years ago, I answered and played along with the caller for quite a while. I figured if I kept her, she couldn’t scam someone else. I roamed around the house doing all kinds of things, answering her questions incorrectly, and then finally told her I knew she was a scammer and she should be ashamed of herself. She screamed at me, royally pissed I had wasted her time. Turn about and fair play.

    • I’ll say good for you on that one. I’ve done the same, although sometimes I just set the phone down and let them ramble on. I agree, if they’re busy with me, they’re not scamming someone else.

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