I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been working from home throughout the pandemic and to be honest, I really rather enjoy it.

Yes, the dining room table might not meet workstation assessment regulations and I know for a fact the chair I’m using doesn’t have five feet and isn’t adjustable for height (it’s a dining chair so isn’t adjustable in any way, shape or form).

But setting those considerations to one side, as a bit of a misanthrope, there are significant benefits for me. And before people start getting annoyed, yes, I know working from home isn’t ideal for a lot of people.

For a start, I can now get up an hour and a half later than I have to do if I’m commuting into Manchester. And at the other end of the day, I don’t have that horrendous, overcrowded train journey back home.

I don’t have any commuting costs, which is just as well really given how much extra I spent on heating my house over winter.

And there are far fewer distractions working from home. I can also be more flexible about when I actually work, which all combine to make me more efficient and productive.

It also means I’m at home when the man/woman from Amazon/DPD/Hermes/Yodel/Royal Mail calls so I never have to play the game of hunt the parcel.

But I have to confess, there are downsides to being in all day, every day. From my experience one of the more unpleasant is the succession of never-ending scam phone calls.

And they’re getting worse.

Take last week for example. Having been phoned up for the fourth or fifth time by scammers with a South Asian accent, I decided to play along. This is how the conversation went.

Kevin: (yes, he really told me his name was Kevin) “Hello, I’m calling you from the Windows technical department to inform you that your computer has been hacked and has been infected with a virus.”

Me: “Oh goodness, Kevin, that’s terrible. What can I do about it? I need my computer for work.”

(This isn’t strictly true. While I do have a Windows laptop, my work computer is a rather nice Apple iMac and absolutely nothing to do with ‘Windows, but Kevin doesn’t know that.)

Kevin: “It is not a problem sir. (I love the way they are always unfailingly polite. They must be taught that at scammers school). I can fix the problem for you if you can tell me your IP address.”

Me: “What’s an IP address?”

Kevin: “It is the internet address of your computer and I will tell you where to find it so I can fix the infection.”

Me: “But if you can see my computer’s been infected, you must be able to see its IP address.”

Kevin: “It doesn’t work like that, sir.” (Kevin is still being polite, but it won’t last).

Me: I sort of think that’s exactly how it works. For you to know my computer has been hacked and for you to see it’s been infected, you must already have my IP address.”

Kevin: (who’s now got a little angry edge to his voice) “No, no, no sir. Your computer has been infected and you MUST give me your IP address NOW.”

At this point, I decided to change tack.

Me: “Kevin, where are you based, where are your offices?”

Kevin: “London.”

Me: “Whereabouts in London, precisely? I know London really well and I’m going there next week so maybe rather than me giving you my IP address, what about if I call into your office and you can just fix the problem for me there and then.”

I think by this point Kevin had twigged I wasn’t being completely honest with him.

Kevin: “Sir, you must give me your IP address now. You are wasting my time (that was a bit rich coming from him). If you do not give me your IP address, you will become infected and die.”

Me (somewhat stunned): “Did you just say I will die?”

Kevin: “Yes, yes, yes, sir. You will die.”

I’m normally quite phlegmatic about these people but being told I would die was just too much. At this point, I put the phone down on him. Getting death threats from some random bloke half way around the world was just a little too excessive at 10.30am on a Wednesday.

Anyway, the good news is Kevin never got to find out what my IP address is and while I realise I could be tempting fate here, I don’t think I’ve been infected with a virus, digital or otherwise.

And the really sad thing is this entire conversation is absolutely true. I can, and did, laugh it off, but given the times we are living in, telling people they are going to die because of a virus really isn’t on.