Scam phone calls and people who don’t have any real understanding of computers

Those tweets are related to an article that appeared on Ars Technica today about people who troll tech support scammers. I too have previously written about my experiences with this technology menace. I think companies who take advantage of people in this way are scum. However…

Like many people who are the only ones in their families who have ever bothered to take the time to understand a computer beyond its ability as a tool for storing family photos, or understand that it is a “browser” that you use to view web pages, etc – well let’s just say I get a tad fed-up with being used as free tech support.

But I am really beginning to get fed-up with how little a lot of people, who own computers, understand about computers. And yes, a lot of these people are over the age of fifty, but many are also under thirty, but funnily enough – if they want to be allowed to drive a car, they need to know how to drive it.

And why would you spend a load of money on something that has the potential to destroy your life if you’re not going to take the time to learn how to leave the hand brake on?

But that’s just what people do with computers. Every single day. And I’m not just talking about desktops here, I’m talking laptops, tablets and smartphones. All of these, within the information society that so many of us are now a part of, do truly have the potential to ruin lives.

I can no longer abide by those who say they don’t have the time or it’s too complicated. Either make the time and/or stop enacting a self-fulfilling prophecy – do that or don’t choose to own things such as laptops and smartphones.

Ah, but what should people understand on a basic level, about using computers, smartphones and being online? Now that is a good question. For me, I mainly wish people would learn/understand:

  • That you need filters attached to each phone socket for broadband internet to work.
  • That you need anti-virus and firewall software on desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
  • That the above software needs to be kept up-to-date.
  • That the above software will likely need to be paid for on an annual basis if it’s for a desktop or laptop.
  • That desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones all have operating systems and that these need to be kept up-to-date.
  • That software such as Adobe Reader, Flash and things like Java need to be kept up-to-date and that they normally prompt you to update them when not using a browser.
  • That on a desktop or laptop – software that asks to be updated via a message that’s not in an internet browser is normally, normally, a legit request.
  • Not to trust all apps that they can buy or get for free on smartphones/tablets.
  • That free content can come at a cost.
  • What an internet browser is and that Internet Explorer/Safari is not their only option.
  • How to use a browser.
  • Not to trust every link they want to click-on.
  • Not to trust every email they receive or their attachments.
  • What cookies are.
  • Not to use the same password for their email as everything else they do online.
  • How to use a Word Processor.
  • How to use Google’s search engine to at least find advice on things they don’t understand.
  • Not to forward chain emails.
  • That Facebook’s business model is a long way from charging users.
  • That not all links posted by friends on Facebook can be trusted.

And fair few other things.

But I think one of the main thing I would want them to learn is not to trust the technology and what they access through it. Just like you can’t trust drivers on the road, so you also cannot trust a lot of the content, people and programs that may come your way.


One thought on “Scam phone calls and people who don’t have any real understanding of computers

  1. Good comparison.

    Though I have a bit more patience than you, when helping others with computers, I do find that I have to go over the same thing again and again.

    And I do think calling on the techie in the family as a first port of call isn’t right. If they don’t learn now, they will get left behind!

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