A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Hooptedoodle #170a - The Donkey Scammers are Back!

I recently recorded my disappointment with my experience of the Windows phone scam call I got from India, and I received some useful advice in the comments.

This morning the creeps called me again - this time the number was withheld, and I just got INTERNATIONAL on the caller display. Anyway, there they were.

The man introduced himself as the "Windows Helpdesk", at which point I made an extremely loud noise into the phone for about 25 seconds and hung up. He rang back! - what a hero! - he got through to our answering service, and left a message to say that he would call me all day until I answered. Well, he rang about a further 5 times in quick succession, and got through to the answering machine each time, and hung up.

Eventually he gave up - no doubt he will call again when he has nothing to do, but the idea that he should have to pay international call rates - even for the brief instant he is connected to my answering machine - is appealing. When he does call, I think a change of tactic might be in order - I shall say "I'll go and get the account holder" (as advised), and put the phone in the waste paper basket until he hangs up. This scam is all about money, after all, so let's spend a bit of theirs.

Here's a message to the Windows Helpdesk man, from our management team:

Late edit: And again this morning (15th May)! I just kept quiet, and the guy hung up. Different caller from the last one. If you can do it on your landline phone, put these numbers in your directory



and name them SCUMBAG1 and SCUMBAG2 so that it shows up on the caller display, and - if you can do it - programme your phone to play a distinct (and preferably derogatory) ring tone if they call. Don't answer, and they'll get fed up and try the next number on their list. It is depressing, but if you're careful these bastards can't hurt you. 


  1. Hee, hee, hee, arf, arf !! (old git speak for LOL).
    Never answer the phone myself - it's always trouble when you're middle aged.

  2. You know, we've had several of the exact same calls here in the American Midwest in recent weeks. It would be funny if there weren't so many.

    Best Regards,


    1. This scam has been around since about 2008 - a couple of guys were jailed for it in 2010, I believe - there are names around on the net, and the cities of Koto and Katara are the centres. It must be making money, because it's on the upsurge again. You can tell from the background noise that the calls come from a big centre - must be a big industry and local employer in Rajastan. "What do you do all day, daddy?" - "Well son, like my father and his father before me, I'm a boss in a scammer plant..."

      Filth - they target the elderly and the ignorant.

  3. Our sub-Continental callers are constant these days. The other day a young lady called to tell me that unfortunately an internet provider I don't use was obliged to cut off my internet immediately. I intended to string her along for a while, but couldn't help laughing at her ineptitude. Not only did she fail to identify which service I used, but began abruptly instead of easing in to the call as a real one would, and used decidedly Indian idioms (like ending bad news with "okay?"). She became quite upset, asked me why I was laughing and called me a Motherf****r, before lapsing into Hindi and hanging up. Poor dear. If she'd hung on I was ready to explain where she had gone wrong, but some people just don't want to learn. Without a commitment to continuous improvement I fear the Indian cyber-criminals will fail to keep up with market demands and be eclipsed by emerging players. Word is, legitimate call centres (if there is such a thing) are moving to the Philippines, where wages are lower and they have a better grasp of American idioms. Expect organised crime to do the same. What will all those Indian cold callers do then? It's very sad.

    1. The way the world economies are changing, i am confident that Indian companies will be using British-based helpdesks soon, since the wages will be cheaper, so the whole game might get turned on its head. The Indian cold callers will have to sit at home in their mansions, receiving offensive scam calls from foreigners.

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  4. Sadly the Indian Windows Wallahs called my wife when I was at work. She is a lovely but somewhat unworldly person, and the short version is that they scammed her for several thousand dollars. I tried to recover the money through both Visa and Paypal but to no avail.
    Several months later, they called again and asked for my wife by name. I lost my temper, and loudly told the gent to do several anatomically impossible things with large implements and farm animals, and then hung up. The bastard called me back immediately and asked to speak to my wife. I swore at him again until I hyperventilated, and he called back a third time. After that, nothing. These people seem to target certain geographies at a time, as many of my friends in the Alberta town we lived in then received the same calls within a week, and then it seemed to stop.
    One of the benefits of not having a land line now is that my wife and I get far fewer calls of this sort on our mobiles. Coincidence, maybe?

    1. That is a dreadful story - I am really terribly sorry to read this, Michael. They are indeed loathsome specimens. You might be interested to check out the Google+ profile of the guy named above, who is dumb enough to admit that he is employed by the "firm" that is generally held responsible for much of the scam activity in Kolkata.