The 50 Ways Series
50 Ways to respond to "Computer Repair..."
It was a long time ago that I first wrote about
deceptions used to gain access to systems and networks. "Computer
repair ..." is the fist step in this scam, followed by any number of
I had the pleasure of receiving a "Computer Repair"
call earlier this week, and it brought me back. It was likely just
someone who had read my book from the early 1990s and wanted to play,
but I responded with one of the harsher approaches below and haven't
been called back. So I figure, for fun or for real, it's time to give
you the 50 ways update on how to respond to "Computer Repair ..." and
other similar scams.
Unless otherwise stated, after you say the line, hang up the phone.
- 1. For computer repair, please call 555-1212.
- 2. We don't have any computers here. You must be calling the wrong number.
- 3. One moment please... [put them on hold and never pick the line back up]
- 4. I'm glad you called. Our 360 has been having hardware problems
and IBM has refused to fix it. [engage in conversation till bored]
- 5. What took you so long? We called last week! Where are those
computers you said you would send us? [they will likely hang up]
- 6. Credit card number please... [keep asking till they provide one and then go to another answer]
- 7. Are you that nice boy from down the street? I'm going to tell your mother on you...
- 8. Thanks for calling. Do you need my bank account number first,
or my password? [lie from then till they give up]
- 9. Please don't call this number again or I will call the police and report you.
- 10. [Call into the room in an Italian accent] Guido - it's the
mechanic again... about the contract on that guy from that
place... [play the rest of the organized crime game till bored]
- 11. I'm not supposed to talk to strangers. I'm getting my mother.
- 12. Great. Can you come pick up our computers for repair?
[provide them with the address of your local FBI office and tell them
to insist it is work order number 3214897B when they get there]
- 13. We only do computer repairs on Wednesday. Please call back then.
- 14. Thank God! We are being robbed. Please call 911 and [hang up
not finishing your sentence]
- 15. Am I on candid camera? Is that Alan Funt? I've always loved
your show... [play it out as long as you like]
- 16. Didn't I hear your voice on America's most wanted? Are you
that serial killer? I'd love to meet you...
- 17. It must be really boring doing this all day. Why don't you
come to our scam school and learn how to do it right? [continue the
pitch till they pay and agree to your online courses]
- 18. Hello... I can't hear you... You must have a bad line...
- 19. Is this Walt? Walt? Man, this isn't funny anymore. Just come
over for the game.
- 20. [in whispered tones] My husband's still home. We'll meet at
the usual place at 4:30 this afternoon.
- 21. You have no idea of how long I've been waiting for someone to
call. [engage them in an hour long conversation about how your 2nd
husband (may he rest in peace) left you with plenty of everything but
his lost love]
- 22. Our computers are all beyond repair since that explosion. I
thought you guys were coming tomorrow to do the cleanup? [await
response, complain, get disgruntled, then hang up in a huff]
- 23. I'm sorry. That isn't in our telephone answering script and I
am not supposed to vary from the script.
- 24. Start humming the tune from the Godfather.
- 25. Just a minute while I turn off the TV. It's hard to hear over
QVC. Now what are you selling and which credit cards do you take?
[give them false credit card information]
- 26. Oh - you don't want me. You want the frauds
department. That's extension 2311.
- 27. Did you read "Frauds, Spies, and Lies"? There are far better
scams than this one over the phone.
- 28. No grab told keep nibble retroactive gremlin frost beachtree
... [say a bunch of random words - as if it was a coded response]
- 29. Confirmation #23441 - please provide response. [wait till a
response then state "invalid response" and hang up]
- 30. [just hang up]
- 31. [Interact indicating you have a NetTrack 1573 computer and it's broken ...]
- 32. This is computer repair. How can we help you? [keep telling them this is computer repair and acting confused]
- 33. I'm glad you called - I lost your FedEx number and couldn't
ship that computer last week. What was the Fed Ex number, name,
address, and phone number again? [Collect it so you can send them the
computer to repair ...]
- 34. Are you sure you have the right number? This is the softlight
massage parlor and all we have is a cash box.
- 35. Are you from router repair, switch repair, mainframe repair,
software repair, ... [ ask them more and more questions to
differentiate precisely which repair group you are from, and then tell
them ...] Ah! We don't have any of those at this site.
- 36. Thanks for calling. Have you ever read Faulkner? [use whatever
you like and engage them in a conversation about your favorite book or
- 37. Praise the lord! [engage them in a religious conversation and
try to convert them to a religion of your choice].
- 38. Do you believe in God? [try to save them from fraud-callers
- 39. One moment for the psychology department. [place them on hold forever]
- 40. One moment... [place them on hold for a few minutes and repeat]
- 41. Thank you for calling. Would you please take the following
survey on customer satisfaction? Press 1 for yes. [play like you are
an automated machine asking ever more ridiculous and personal questions]
- 42. Sorry, this is the computer destruction department. You
fix-em, we break em.
- 43. Thank goodness they got rid of the old IT department. They
were terrible. Jan in accounting told me that ... [spend a while going
through office rumor and similar things claiming that IT is terrible,
but be sure to use fictitious names]
- 44. Is this IBM, Dell, or Amazon calling? [wait for an answer before hanging up]
- 45. Great. What's the safety code? [give them 2 tries then tell
them that they are not who they claim to be]
- 46. Your maintenance password please. [act like you typed it in
and it failed and repeat till 3 tries then hang up]
- 47. Thank you for calling. How can I help you? [continue to be
polite and answer questions with lies, but never touch a computer in
the process and don't tell them anything real. Act like your computer
is broken and just doesn't work. No matter what they tell you to try,
just tell them the screen went black and nothing is on it now.]
- 48. Are you from Comcast? You people never fix these things
right. When will you be here for your appointment. I've been waiting
for 3 hours. [continue to insist they are from Comcast (or whatever
provider you like) and get them to commit to an exact time for an
appointment - make sure you give them a bad address]
- 49. Are you from AT&T? [insist they are your cell providers, that
they need to come anf fix your cell service, and they owe you for the
loss of service last month]
- 50. I have been trained by reading the "50 ways to respond to
Computer Repair..." article at all.net. So have my friends and
colleagues. Don't bother to call again.
Any of these or many other respoinses are just fine. As long as you don't give them any real information.