Monday, April 04, 2011

Opportunity Calls, Among Others

My tax guy calls me. It's not about my taxes. He talked to one of his other clients, a guy who owns a skydiving business. I name his name before the accountant does. He's been in business in Canadian skydiving a long time, owns places across Canada. My accountant mentioned me, said he couldn't understand how a pilot could be overqualified. Skydiving guy explained in terms he could understand. "Return on investment." I thought I told him that, but I guess with accounting people you have to use the exact words. He's calling to tell me skydiving guy says he'll look at my resume. I send him one. Dropping meat bombs is generally an entry level job, but I think the company has some larger airplanes, and there might even be an opportunity to travel to big skydiving meets. I've never jumped, but I used to work with a guy whose wife was a pretty well-known skydiver, well known in that community, I mean. I'm not sure there are any generally famous skydivers.

The maybe job guy doesn't call me. Maybe I should call again. I'll call again tomorrow.

A charity calls to ask me if I have any used clothing or housewares to donate. I tell them not this time. Try again some other time. It's convenient having people haul off your stuff, and if I get a job out of town I'll have give stuff away rather than store it.

A telemarketer calls. I can tell it's a telemarketer because they use a weird version of my name. But this one not exactly a telemarketer. What? She says she's calling from "Computer Maintenance Optimizers" and they have detected a "Junk Malicious Virus" in Microsoft Windows on my computer. The bafflegab is so fluent and hilarious I let her keep going for a while before I interrupt to ask.

"How did you get my telephone number?"

"We have a research department."

"What kind of scam is this?"

"It's not a scam. We are calling to tell you about a junk malicious virus detected on your computer."

"And you're calling me from India to tell me this?"

"I am calling from 'Computer Maintenance Optimizers'."

Eventually she admits that it is in India. They want me to download some software to allow their 'technician' access to the computer to remove the virus. And replace it with spyware, or recruit my computer into a botnet, no doubt. I ask what their revenue model is, and she says it's not my concern, or maybe not her concern, I missed it in the accent.

At one point she asks,"Are you really interested, or are you just wasting my time?" I tell her truthfully that I'm absolutely fascinated by how this all works, and to learn more about this virus, but you know times are tough everywhere and if labour and telephony is cheap enough for them to use human beings making phone calls as a malware vector, she can't be making much. I ask her, if she is paid an hourly wage, per call, or by how many people she entices to download the information. She assures me somewhat indignantly that she is PAID. I tell her I actually use Linux, so their Microsoft Windows virus detector isn't working, but I'm still interested in what she is doing. She ignores that, or doesn't understand Linux and continues. I'm truthfully very interested in this whole scam, or whatever it is. It's hilarious. Are we going to get personal phonecalls from Nigerian princes next? She won't tell me at what point money is extracted from me, or anything more about the company, so eventually I've had enough. I really don't know whether or not she knows that she's peddling a scam, or at best a useless service. I admit that I am wasting her time, because I'm not going to do it. She says this is my choice, but I really should, because the virus may harm my computer. I tell her the Linux story again and she buys it this time, but doesn't seem to be in a hurry to hang up. I tell her I hope she is paid well for her work, that she and her family are well, and that she is enjoying her work. I'm usually civil with telemarketers, but how bored do I have to be? That was so weird, though.

A little internet research turns up their business model. This has been going on for a few years now, and they're doing it all over the world. They sometimes pretend to be from Microsoft or your ISP. They direct you to look at Windows Event Viewer, which always contains a long list of scary looking events, and tell you that's proof of the infection. They have you download a program to give their 'technician' remote access to your computer, and then they charge you a whack of money for it.

Actually, this is the second time I've had this call. I hope I didn't blog about it the first time. Sorry for the repeat if I did. The thing is, when you're job hunting, you have to keep answering the phone.

In breaking news, it looks like the French have found the wreckage of AF447.


amulbunny's random thoughts said...

Ever been to Quesnel (silly ? I know, you've been to an awful lot of aerodromes in BC)? My friend has to be there for a month for business. She just flew in there this afternoon.
She's sure the sidewalks roll up at 5pm and she's going to be peeling wallpaper.

As far as telemarketers, that's why I have a fax machine on my phone. If they don't ID their call, they get the squeal. If people know me well enough, they've got the cell #.

Aviatrix said...

Yup, I've been to Quesnel. Not sure I've left the aerodrome, though. I think you're friend is getting in and out after the worst of the snow but before the mosquitoes, so she should count her blessings.

Bill, Tasmania said...

The scam is operating in Tasmania as well!!
Good luck job hunting.

George said...

"If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not your sport."

BTW to pick a nit, the French did not find the wreckage. Americans from Woods Hole found it.

5400AirportRdSouth said...

Thats awesome. I put myself on the Do-Not-Call registry, but I don't think it works. I still get telemarketer calls, but they all seem to be from Canadian companies.

Sorry to hear about the job hunt.. I applied at a couple of Skydive places and most of them required that I have a few jumps.. not sure how I feel about that. Compared to all the other lengths people seem to be able to convince themselves to go to in order to land a flying job, jumping out of an aeroplane seems easy...

Lee I said...

From what I've been told, if you answer one of those nice emails from a Nigerian widow, or her lawyer, they will telephone you every day. Should you ever get really bored . . .

Steve at the Pub said...

Hmmm, when I said I was a Linux user there was a brief pause, then she just hung up!

And it was before the good part, where I ask questions of a risque nature, or something.

JetAviator7 said...

Telemarketers? Heck, now they are chasing me on my iPhone! It seems it is getting harder than ever to hide from them!


All Things Aviation

Paul said...

Next time they call just don't say you are a Linux user, you have to start into the differences between all the Linux distributions: Ubuntu, CentOS, RedFlag, Slackware, Redhat, Debian, OpenSUSE, SELinux, and about 75 more.

Good luck with the job hunt. What about Alaska? Can you get a work visa?



Aviatrix said...

Without a green card, you have to get an employer to tell US Immigration that they want you, and no American with the required qualifications is available to do the job. Otherwise you have to have a profession that requires a university degree, and proof of the degree, in order to get a work visa based on NAFTA. And I think in the latter case you still need a job offer. Pilots are commodities.