Password reset with a twist

Hi friendly folks at the help desk,
I am trying to sign in at your site but my password doesn't seem to work.
Can you help?

Hello Maddy,
Thanks for contacting us. We can reset your password for you. In order to accomplish that, we'll need to ask you a couple of questions so that you can establish ownership of the account first.
Would you mind giving us the date of birth, last 4 digits of your social security number  and full name you entered on your registration form?
Support staff

Hi support staff,
I am sorry but I'm not going to do that. You're probably good and honest folks, but I can't give you my personal information, just in case there is a chance that you are trying to steal my identity. I am being very careful with what kind of information I give on the internet. Surely you can reset my password without this information?

Hello Maddy,
You did in fact give us your information (full name, date of birth and last 4 digits of your social security number) when you registered. Those are required fields on the registration form.
All we need you to do is repeat this information now as proof of ownership of the account, and then we can reset your password for you.
Support staff

Hi support staff,
The more I think about this, the more I am convinced that you are trying to steal my identity. If I already gave this information on the registration form, then you should have it and there is no reason for me to give it again.
I did some reading up on identity theft and couldn't find anything about help desk folks stealing identities, but I don't trust it, sorry. Crooks come up with new ideas all the time.
Please just give me a new password, that's all I'm asking.

Hello Maddy,
I am sorry but we cannot reset your pasword unless you prove ownership of the account which you can do by giving the information we asked for. Again, note that we do have this information already, we just need you to confirm it.
Support staff

Hi support staff,
All right I know that I didn't give you my name and all that, I'd never give that on the internet, especially not to strangers. I'll tell you my name and DOB, and please reset my password then, it can't be that difficult.
Full name: Madonna Von Bogus
DOB: February 29 1975

Hello Maddy,
The information you provided is incorrect. There were only 28 days in February 1975 and you were not born in 1975. Your last name Von Bogus does not appear to be your name.
Please try again.
Support staff

Hi support staff,
Wow this is getting a tad too serious for my taste. You seem to know more about me than I feel comfortable with.
Tell you what.. before I give you any information at all, I want to make sure you really are the support staff people for the site I signed up with. I've heard of emails being derouted to different places so that people can get one's personal info, and I think this might be the case here.
Please provide the following information promptly to prove me wrong:
Your full name
Date of birth
Last 4 digits of your social security number
Your work schedule
The exact amount that showed on your paycheck for January 2011
Your home and work IP
Your address and phone number
Full names of your parents
Please also provide a scanned copy of your birth certificate along with a scanned copy of picture ID

Hello Maddy,
I am sorry but we don't give our personal information to customers.
Support staff

Hi again help desk,
And how exactly is that fair? You demand my personal information, but I can't have yours in return?  This is abuse of powers.  Trust is a two way lane, you know..
You can keep my accont.. enjoy it!

EasyBits Go, a "fine" example of customer support.

This morning when I signed on to skype, I was asked if I wanted to try some game, I clicked deny, but it installed anyways.
Turns out I'm not the only one.

Their help forums are flooded, and one official skype reply, 7 pages later... "Please bear with us until we can give an official statement on this later"

Later? What do you mean, later? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month? People are spending their Saturday afternoon trying to figure out how to uninstall the thing, running malware and virus scans.. This has been going on all day.

Just in case this happened to anyone who is reading this.. Removing Easybits Go:

1) Open your task manager
2) End the process on skype, skypePM and Easybit Go
3) Once you've killed the process on all of them, go into your programs and delete Easybit Go from there.
4) Reboot

After you remove it, you need to adjust your skype settings so that it doesn't sneak up on you again.

1) In skype, click tools -> options -> advanced
2) UN-check the box next to 'automatically start extras'
3) Save the changes.


You're Reducible

I am writing to you in regards to your offensive captaches.

Do you honestly think that decent, self-respecting people like me will sign up at your site?
You're already offending them before they have clicked the join button.
What exactlly are you implying with "you're reducible"? Are you calling me fat?
I demand an immediate apology.

Hello Steve,
We are sorry that you felt offended by our captchas. Those words are chosen randomly and are not to be taken personal. It was an unfortunate combination of words, and by no means meant to offend anyone.
Should you wish, we can register the account for you so that you won't have to deal with the captchas again. Simply provide your email, desired username and password, and date of birth.
Thank you,
Support Team

Hey, where is the apology I asked for? I didn't ask to have an account registered, I don't want an account with you now, I just want an apology.  "We're sorry" isn't cutting it. If someone told you that you're reducible, wouldn't you take it personal? You won't get away with this.
You're arrogant, lazy, stubborn &^%*$s and please don't take this personal, it's just an unfortunate combination of words that slipped into my message here.

Hello Steve,
We do profusely apologise for the heartache this has caused you.
Should you still wish to have the account registered, please let us know.
Support Team

Hey thanks. Apology accepted.
As for registering an account.. no, no and no.


Things you should not say or do when contacting a help desk

1) After submitting a ticket, do not keep refreshing your email to see if they have replied yet. A watched pot doesn't boil.
Many help desks simply don't reply. Consider a reply optional. 
Consider a reply within 24 hours an extra bonus.
Consider a reply within two hours a fluke.
On the same note, I would not suggest ending your ticket with "I am holding my breath, waiting for your reply"

2) Do not offer help desk employees your firstborn after your problem has been resolved.
Honestly, they don't need your firstborn. A simple thank you will do.
Moreover, what on earth are you going to do should they accept?

3) Do not use all caps.
The help desk staff won't be impressed. They won't be scared, either. 
They won't print out your ticket and hang it on their bedroom wall as a souvenir. Using caps on a help desk ticket is like screaming at the customer service folks at walmart. 

4) Do not get upset should you receive a reply that is completely unrelated to your question.
They too are human. Sometimes they use canned replies. 
Maybe they popped a reply from the wrong category into the reply box on accident. Just patiently tell them that you have received the wrong canned reply and repeat your question.

5) Do not start your ticket with "I have a problem"
It's redundant. Of course you have a problem, you're not contacting a help desk because you want to know what their staff had for breakfast (At least I'd hope not).

6) Do not use the F-word or its brothers or sisters.
As with the caps, nobody is going to be impressed. 
Nobody is going to start trembling and give your ticket absolute priority. 

7) Do not start a long ticket with "Dear Beloved"
Chances are the help desk staff will consider it a scam mail, close your ticket, and block your email.

8) Do not tell the story of your life on a help desk ticket. Nobody wants to read it.

Example of a good ticket:
I lost my password, can you reset it for me?
Username: Sundance
Answer to secret question on my account: Buster

Example of a bad ticket:
I cleaned out my desk drawer the other day, looking for the post card I received from grandma back in 2008. I had kept the post card in my desk drawer because I had jotted my password down on it. It was a post card she sent when she was in Paris with grandpa. They went all the way up the Eiffel Tower by stairs. 
I still think she should not have worn her mini skirt that day, but to each their own. I understand about wanting to look and act like a spring chicken at age 70, but still.... 
Anyways, I did find the post card, but the problem was I had a whole bunch of passwords written on it, not just that one, and I couldn't remember which one I had used for my account with you. 
To make it worse, my dad has been using that post card for his passwords as well.
I'd have contacted you sooner, but I've been busy going through dad's browser history and trying to fit the passwords on the correct sites. It turned into a neat game. It felt a bit like Mazito, each time I solved a mystery, I got the feeling that I had accomplished something grand. 
Some of dad's passwords were no challenge, he tends to just reverse the names of the sites. 
His pass for facebook is bookface, his password for paypal is palpay. Then there is spacemy, tubeyou, etc...
So here I am sitting in this mess, trying to find my password, can you help?


A Little Help From A Friend

[7:16:24 PM] begin chat session

[7:17:25 PM] cookie: hey what's up?
[7:17:26 PM] me: nothing, and you?
[7:17:37 PM] cookie: got a minute to help me with something?
[7:17:38 PM] me: sure, what do you need?
[7:19:08 PM] cookie: I need to clear my cache
[7:19:12 PM] me: and?
[7:19:13 PM] cookie: I don't even know what that is
[7:19:54 PM] me: who says you have to clear your cache?
[7:23:49 PM] cookie: some help desk. Their site looks all squished to me.
[7:23:54 PM] me: what browser and version do you use?
[7:23:57 PM] cookie: no idea, I don't know what you're talking about.
[7:24:04 PM] me: are you serious?
[7:25:28 PM] cookie: do I look as if I'm joking?
[7:25:48 PM] me: I don't know, I'm not "seeing" you.
[7:25:50 PM] cookie: so what's a browser?
[7:25:57 PM] me: the program you use to browse the internet with.
[7:25:59 PM] cookie: can you be a bit more specific? You're speaking in riddles. Sheesh.
[7:27:25 PM] me: are you at their website right now?
[7:27:52 PM] cookie: yes
[7:28:58 PM] me: look up, do you see "help"?
[7:29:02 PM] cookie: I see the ceiling, no idea what you're talking about.
[7:29:12 PM] me: look at your screen, at the line up top, do you see words like file, edit, go, bookmarks, tools, help...
[7:29:19 PM] cookie: oh yes I see help there.
[7:36:03 PM] me: click help and then about
[7:36:47 PM] cookie: there is no about
[7:36:59 PM] me: sure there is, work with me here.
[7:37:36 PM] cookie: I see about internet explorer, is that it?
[7:37:41 PM] me: yes, click on it
[7:37:49 PM] cookie: it says internet explorer 6
[7:37:51 PM] me: heh I don't think clearing your cache is going to help. The website probably doesn't support IE6, that is an old browser version you have there.
[7:38:02 PM] cookie: it worked last month.
[7:38:04 PM] me: whatever. Click tools and then internet options
[7:38:09 PM] cookie: but you told me to click help and then about
[7:38:12 PM] me: that was then and this is now. Click tools and then internet options
[7:38:14 PM] cookie: if you say so
[7:38:15 PM] me: now click delete where you see delete temporary internet files, cookies, saved passwords..
[7:38:22 PM] cookie: I don't want to delete my saved passwords
[7:38:26 PM] me: you won't. Just click there.
[7:38:31 PM] cookie: I really don't want to delete my saved passwords.
[7:38:54 PM] cookie: don't yell at me :(
[7:38:57 PM] me: did you click?
[7:39:50 PM] cookie: no.
[7:40:08 PM] me: do... it ... now.... or I'm signing off
[7:40:15 PM] cookie: calm down, I clicked
[7:40:22 PM] me: bravo! Clap clap.. now click delete files next to temporary internet files
[7:40:28 PM] cookie: Done, but how about my cache now, how do I clear that?
[7:41:32 PM] me: you just did.
[7:41:36 PM] cookie: I don't know what you're talking about
[7:41:39 PM] me: your cache is just a different word for temporary internet files.
[7:41:45 PM] cookie: ok, but they said to clear my cache, not delete it.
[7:41:52 PM] me: that is the same.
[7:42:00 PM] cookie: how do you know?
[7:42:03 PM] me: it's common knowledge, cookie. It's no rocket science.
[7:42:11 PM] cookie: if you say so.
[7:42:16 PM] me: you've now cleared your browser's cache, like they asked you to.
[7:42:18 PM] cookie: what is a browser?
[7:42:51 PM] me: I already explained that to you.. look up. Or wait.. don't look up, just don't.
[7:43:01 PM] me: do you still have that box open in which you clicked delete files?
[7:43:04 PM] cookie: yes
[7:43:48 PM] me: good. Now click delete cookies.
[7:44:08 PM] cookie: I thought you said I had already cleared my cache.
[7:44:14 PM] me: you have, but now you need to delete your cookies
[7:45:08 PM] cookie: why??
[7:45:15 PM] me: because that'll automatically sign you out of this chat and I get to take a break :)
[7:45:26 PM] cookie: sorry, we're not all computer geeks like you are, have a bit patience with me.
[7:45:41 PM] me: all right, sorry. Forget about deleting your cookies, just go back to that website, is it displaying normally now?
[7:45:50 PM] cookie: no, it still looks all squished. Are you sure I cleared my cache?
[7:45:56 PM] me: yes. You have to upgrade your browser.
[7:46:01 PM] cookie: I don't know what you're talking about.
[7:46:06 PM] me: your browser is outdated, you have to upgrade it if you want web pages to display properly.
[7:46:07 PM] cookie. okay. Can you help me with that?
[7:46:46 PM] me: no

[7:53:08 PM] end of chat session


The Used Pillow

Hi Sundance,
I am trying to buy a pillow but it won't take my credit card info, can you help me please?

Hi Kim,
Thanks for emailing  me. I just have a blog here with some ramblings about help desk stuff, but I'm not really a help desk. If you have trouble paying for the pillow, you should probably go to the site where you tried to buy the pillow and contact them. Most sites have a help or contact link at the bottom.
In the meantime, you could fold up a blanket and use that as a pillow, or if you have a dog, let him sleep on the bed after his flea bath and use him as a pillow.

Hi Sundance,
I don't understand. I clicked on your pillow link and you're saying you're not selling pillows? It said 50% off on all used pillows, click here. And I clicked on "here" , then I ordered the pillow and that is when I got trouble paying.
You should probably remove your pillow link if you don't sell pillows.

Hi Kim,
Where exactly on my blog do you see a sale for used pillows? I mean, I can sell you mine if you really want one, but I think you are confusing my blog with a different site.

Hi Sundance,
The pillow link is gone now, that is not cool to quickly take it away and replace it with something different. I should have taken a screen shot of it. You know as well as I do where that link was. It was in a box over to the right just below "blog archive".
I'll be darned if I visit here again.

Hi kim,
Oh now I understand. You clicked on an advertisement. Those things change, you know. I don't have control over what gets advertised on my blog. Surely you are familiar with advertisements on the internet? Yeah google puts a little something in my piggy bank when people click those ad links, but if you click a link to an ad, selling something, I am not the one selling it. And just between us, I wouldn't buy a used pillow. Who wants to buy a pillow someone else drooled on? It's probably just a couple bucks more for a new one.

Hi Sundance,
So let me see if I understand this. I click the pillow link and buy the pillow. The place that sells the pillow gets money, and you get money too?

Hi kim,
Well no, you didn't buy the pillow, so the place that sells the pillow got nothing, and I got something. Yeah I know it isn't fair but fairness is a pretty relative concept after all. Don't worry about it.

Hi Sundance,
I hope that your blog readers will realise how you are scamming everyone. I click your pillow link, I can't buy a pillow and you get money AND you shamelessly tell me the pillows have been drooled on. If you are not the one selling the pillows, then how do you know they have been drooled on? I think you talked yourself into a corner here.
The internet is full of scammers, isn't it.

Hi Kim,
I don't know for sure if the pillows have been drooled on or not, that is just an assumption on my part. Statistics show that 99% of all people drool within the first hour of being in bed for the night. You can test this by setting your alarm clock to buzz an hour after you've gone to bed, then check and see if your pillow is moist (once you have a pillow of course).
I'll buy you a new pillow if you let me post our conversation on my blog.

Hi Sundance,
Hmmmmyes, I guesso


Dear Beloved Part Two

This is a bit of a different post than what I usually write, but I've got to share this, it's hilarious.
I received another 419 scam mail today. (at the help desk, yes)
A rich, woman, close to kicking the bucket, wanting to transfer her late husband's millions to me. Darn, my lucky day!

There are two things about the mail that are particularly funny.
It starts off like this:

"First of all, I seek your indulgence to solicit for your assistance concerning the content of my e-mail, although I am not comfortable discussing it through this manner, due to lots of unsolicited mails on the internet presently"

That line in itself is worth a reply, something like.. "hmm I can't remember giving you my email or asking you to mail me but hey, thanks for thinking of me, it's appreciated!"

One of the next paragraphs in the mail is top notch, it beats every scam mail I've ever seen.

"According to the doctor, my medical report quotes a very short life sperm due to my health status presently"

Life sperm? I read it twice, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.

I googled that line, being fairly confident that others have received such mail as well. Lo and behold, look at that:

Mrs Victoria Szentiványi had a short life sperm in May 2010.
Mrs. Josepha F. Biondolillo is looking at a short life sperm in June 2010
Mrs. Albina Marada was facing a short life sperm last month.

Anne Nanda Bates joins the short life sperm club.

Mrs.Elizabeth Joshua also fell victim of the short life sperm epidemic.

Relentlessly, the short life sperm bug bit Hajjah Aicha Kone

Mrs. Brina vanska was hit with a short life sperm diagnosis last spring.

Symptoms of short life sperm:
1) You start emailing complete strangers.
2) You want to give away millions.
3) You develop multiple personality disorder and start using different names.

At least I am not rich. I won't have to worry about short life sperm!


Dear Beloved

Dear Beloved,

I am the General Manager in our bank. I have the opportunity of transferring the sum of $7.500.000 (Seven million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) to one of our bank Customer who passed away in the year 27nd february of 2006.
My request for you to stand as next of kin in this business is because the fact that the customer is a foreigner. I want to propose that 40% of this fund gos to you and 60% for me. As soon as you answer, I will give more details of this transaction. Please know that this is a secret.

Raja Island

Hi Raja,
You have emailed this to the Spam and Scam Hotline Helpdesk (SSHH). Surely this was sent in error.
SSHH Support Team

Dear William,
Thank you for reply. Please be so kind to send your phone number, bank account number and credit card number and we can start this transaction.
I am eager and impatient waiting for your email.
Raja Island

Hi Raja,
By the looks of it, you didn't read my mail too carefully. I am here to protect people against scammers like you.
Let me give you a few pieces of advice:
1) Brush up your English, it's terrible.
2) Choose your email addresses more carefully.
3) Make up a more unique story because the bank transfer horse has been beaten to death.
4) Get a real job.
SSHH Support Team

Dear William,
Thanks again for reply. I not understand the horse, I work in a bank, not a barn.
Please kindly send me your bank account and credit card number as well as your phone number. The funds will be disappear if we don't act soon.
We can do 50% for me and 50% for you if that is better.
Raja Island

Hi Raja,
Let me spell this out for you.
You have emailed SSHH. We try and trace scammers. We help victims of scammers get back on their feet, we provide a wealth of information, educating people on how to prevent falling victim of scams. Sending us, of all people,  a scam mail is like walking through an open field in a severe thunderstorm while holding a golf club high up in the air.
You're looking for trouble. A request has already been sent to your email service to have your email closed. If you want more, keep replying.
SSHH Support Team

Dear William,
Many thanks for reply. I don't play golf but thanks for offering, you are very nice person.
Sorry I waited so long for replying to you, my email stopped working and I had to set up a new one. Please send me your information, we need to start this transaction soon. If you not interested, you know someone else who is interested?
Raja Island

Hi Raja,
Yes I know someone who is interested, thank you for asking. He is a police officer and a very nice guy. Don't hold what he does for a living against him, he's cool. You will find his phone number in the attachment, please tell him I sent you and give him my kindest regards. Don't forget to tell him where you live, he likes to discuss transactions of this nature in person :)
He says he only wants 10% of the funds and you get to keep 90%
SSHH Support Team

* Disclaimer: Please note that it is not my intention to make fun of people who don't speak English well (As a matter of fact, English is not my first language), but I have yet to receive one scam mail in my inbox that is written in perfect English, hence the joking about the language.