Also asked did my computer seem to take longer and longer to boot up. I like the psychology behind this. Lots of folks sit there waiting for their machine to boot up - so of course it seems to take ages. Very clever of them to play on that bit of subjective time.
Unfortunately for this scammer, rather than telling him to piss off like I normally do, I had the time to actually keep him going.So, first I said that yes indeed, my computer did take ages to boot up. Then he asked me to start my machine and he'd talk me through some stuff. I said ok, the machine was in the other room, so I'd go turn it on.
Then my daughter said she wanted to talk on the phone. Fantastic!
I tell him it'll take a few minutes to get my PC going, and my daughter wants to talk to him, is that ok? Naturally he says yes, so I let the 3yo at him. After they've had a a few minutes, I tell son if he wants to talk to the man on the phone he can too. I call out saying I'm actually having trouble getting my computer to start, and apologise for taking so long, as the 5yo takes over the phone.
I give it another few minutes as TLex tells him about preschool and swimming, then I get the phone back.
"God, you must be right about that virus! The computer is giving me real problems starting up! Thank god you called! I'll go back and see if I can't get it working."
"Excuse me sir, do you have a mobile phone?"
"No, I'm sorry I don't, but please stay on the line, I really want to get this fixed."
Then I hand him back to GodZoe.
Kept him on the line for around a quarter hour before finally hanging up on him. He immediately rang back, but I let it ring out. I did have other things to do.
But first I explained to the kids about what had gone on, that this man had rung up and lied to us to try and get money from us, and by keeping him on the phone, we were stopping him from doing it to anyone else. And then I said the magic words - "This makes you super heroes, like Batman. But instead of grabbing him and arresting him, you stopped him from committing a crime just by taking to him."
I also had to explain that, while we don't generally tell lies, telling lies to this person to stop him lying to and taking other people's money was acceptable. We have already begun planning for our next scammer, where I will tell him my computer is down in my shed...
The kids asked today when the next scammer would ring up.
I can highly recommend the small public service of keeping a scammer busy, if you have the time. Always meant to do it, and now that I've done it for the first time, it's actually really fun! I'm already planning more elaborate things, including getting the sound file of an old style modem connecting to the net for when he wants me to connect. I may have a whole new hobby :)