Right Working Romantic Related Learning Friendly Healthy Legal Inspirational Unfiltered

Your Argument Has Been SORN IN Half

, , , , | Right | March 11, 2023

In the UK, it is the law that if you have a vehicle taxed for road use, then the vehicle must be insured for road use. All vehicle tax and registration are managed by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency), and there is also the Motor Insurance Database (MID) that has every UK-insured vehicle on it.

This is not a closely-guarded secret; you can literally go to a website and pop your vehicle registration in and it’ll flag if it’s insured or not. There is also something called SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification); if you intend to not have your vehicle insured or use it on the road, you need to go to the DVLA and get it SORN’d

I work in vehicle insurance. The plus side is that whilst we need to have good customer service, we don’t have to be nice to clients due to the nature of what we do. This client has called to cancel his insurance. He has me on speakerphone, so I can hear a lot. He’s also been pretty rude and difficult so far, getting snappy at me regarding DPA and stuff we have to do by law.

Me: “So, why are you looking to cancel the insurance?”

Client: “It’s winter, idiot. I’m not gonna ride it.”

Me: “Have you had it SORN’d?”

Client: “Nah, don’t see the point.”

Me: “I need to make you aware: if your vehicle is taxed for road use and you do not have insurance, the DVLA could fine you up to £1,000, and the vehicle can also be seized and even destroyed by police. I would recommend getting your vehicle SORN’d as soon as you cancel the insurance; you can do it on the government website and it’s free.”

Client: “How would they know it’s not insured?”

Guy In The Background: “It’s called askMID.”

Client: *To the guy* “Shut it, mate.”

Me: “As your friend has advised, there is the Motor Insurance Database run by the Motor Insurance Bureau, which the police and the DVLA use to verify if a vehicle has insurance.”

Client: “Well, how are they gonna know the reg if they can’t see it? It’s gonna be in the garage. Suck on that, sugar t*ts.”

Me: *Dryly* “The DVLA are the ones who gave it the registration plate. They’re the ones that issued you the V5. If it’s UK registered, the DVLA knows the registration, make, model, colour, etc. of the vehicle, who owns the vehicle, and where that person lives. You could take it to Timbuktu if you really wanted to, but if it’s registered and taxed for UK road use, the DVLA is going to be able to find out if it’s insured. You don’t have to SORN the vehicle, but again, it’s free, and if they do decide to check it, you could lose out on up to £1,000.”

There’s a rather awkward silence.

Guy In The Background: “I went on holiday to Timbuktu.”

Client: “Shut up, mate! And… I’ll… uh… get it SORN’d.”

Me: “Lovely. Let’s get that cancellation calculated. I’ll just pop you on hold.”

Guy In The Background: “She ain’t gonna do anything to try and get you a discount on the cancellation after you called her ‘sugar t*ts’.”

Client: “Shut it—”

At that point, I put the client on hold. And yes, I left the cancellation fees at full costs; we can choose to waive them at our discretion, though it does reflect on our scores if we go under a certain amount on average.

While You Check Her Checks, Someone Checked Her Car

, , , , , , , , , , | Legal | March 10, 2023



A customer comes into my bank one day in mid-August and tries to cash a check. Said check looks like it was written by a four-year-old. We go through the protocol as mandated by our organization, calling the issuer and verifying all data.

While we are going through this procedure, the woman goes off on a tantrum. She’s ripping the little pens with chains from the little desks, throwing deposit slips around, demanding to speak to the president of the bank, and verbally abusing all the employees. Likewise, she looks to have done enough speed to stay up for a week straight.

We are finally able to get ahold of the issuer of the check, and lo and behold, it’s a good check!

We cash it and thank her for her patience.

As she’s storming out cursing, two officers walk in. She has her car keys in her hand.

Officer: “Are you the owner of the [color] [Car] in the parking lot?”

Customer: “Yes? So what?”

Officer: “There’s a small child in your car. They don’t look older than two. They’ve been locked inside for more than twenty minutes — in August.”

Customer: “I… I’m on my way to him now!”

Officer: “Too late. Some good people called us, broke your car window, and rescued your kid. You’re under arrest.”

I hope to God that that little kid has found a new home or that their mom has cleaned up her act.

Taking It Down To The Wire, Part 2

, , , , , | Working | March 9, 2023

I work in internal IT for a retail company. A coworker related this call to me one day from a user who was working from home.

Coworker: “Thank you for calling the service desk. How can I assist?”

User: “My Internet’s running really slowly on my computer.”

Coworker: “Okay, are any of the other devices in your house having the same issue or is it just your company computer?”

User: “Nothing is working! Why can’t this stupid thing work? You need to fix my Internet!”

Coworker: “Okay, let’s try rebooting your router and see what happens.”

User: “What’s that?”

Coworker: “The box where you get your Internet?”

User: “I don’t have one of those.”

Coworker: “How do you get Internet?”

User: “I use my neighbor’s Internet.”

Coworker: “Can you ask them if they’re having any interruptions?”

User: “They don’t know that I use it.”

Coworker: “…Um, sir, that’s… that’s stealing. I can’t do anything about that.”

User: “Just fix my Internet! It’s not that hard! Do whatever you have to do to make this work!”

Coworker: “Sir, we are not an ISP, and even if we were, I can’t make something work that you don’t own. You’ll either need to talk to your neighbor or call your local Internet provider and get your own setup.”

The user then apparently yelled about how it was such an easy fix and hung up.

Taking It Down To The Wire

The Wholesome Hacker

, , , , , , , | Legal | March 1, 2023

A while back, I was approached by a coworker, and sort of friend, who wanted to know if my being a programmer meant I could break into a password-protected laptop. Apparently, she noticed that someone accidentally left his laptop behind when leaving a train, and it was a little too late to catch him before the train doors closed. She tried asking at the train station how to return it, but they were no help, so now she had a locked laptop in her possession and no clue what to do with it. She figured she might as well make use of it if she couldn’t return it.

I believed her story. She was a very kind and well-meaning person, and I had every confidence that she had made a sincere effort to return the laptop before coming to me. Still, I wasn’t all that comfortable with the idea of breaking into someone else’s laptop, and I originally argued that I didn’t know how to unlock it anyway.

But even as I was trying to point out that being a programmer didn’t make me a master hacker, the geek part of my brain couldn’t help but tackle the problem, and I quickly realized that not only could I probably unlock it, but I didn’t expect it to be all that difficult to do. Now I found myself tempted to help just so I could later joke that I broke into a computer with my 1337 H4x0r skills.

In the end, I agreed to try to do what my coworker wanted, but only on the condition that the first priority would be to return the laptop to the rightful owner and she would only get the laptop back if I couldn’t do so. My original plan for unlocking the machine involved a Linux boot disk, but I was saved from having to burn one by the fact that a quick Google search returned a straightforward step-by-step guide for how to get past Windows passwords.

It involved intentionally shutting the machine down wrong so it would offer to do a full scan of the hard drive when rebooted. When that scan was completed, it would give a message in Notepad about the results of the scan. If I then chose to save that message, the screen that would pop up to pick where I wanted to save the file also allowed me to do some other things, like renaming existing files, and because it opened in admin mode, I could even change files that were usually protected.

So, I replaced the “sticky keys” file that runs when you hit Tab five times in rapid succession with the program that would open a command line prompt. After another reboot, when I was prompted to enter a password I instead hit Tab until the computer tried to run “sticky keys”, and instead, it opened up a command line running in admin mode, at which point I effectively could do anything I wanted on the machine by typing the appropriate commands.

For those who are screaming, “How could Microsoft be so sloppy that you could just Google how to unlock their machines?!” I should first mention that this was a much older version of Windows, nothing you are likely to be running on your computer at home.  

More importantly, the truth is that no matter what operating system you are using, your data really isn’t secure; if this exploit hadn’t existed, I could have fallen back to my original plan to use a boot disk, after all.

I’m sure the folks at Microsoft looked at their password protection as a way to keep non-computer-savvy people away and to slow down savvy folks enough that they couldn’t break in while you were away at the bathroom. Since the exploit I used required waiting for a long hard disk scan first, the password protection still did its job of slowing hackers down, and that’s all they really could hope for.

Anyway, now that I had full access to the laptop, my goal was to try to figure out how to contact its owner with minimal invasion of privacy. I got lucky there when I almost immediately found a resume saved in his documents with a phone number and email address at the top.

Now I had a new problem: the minor detail that I’d just broken the law. At the time, the “anti-hacking” laws we had were excessively open-ended. There was no doubt that my intentional breaking into a laptop qualified, even if I had the best of intentions when doing it. So, I had to figure out how to return the thing without confessing to my evil criminal ways.

In the end, I created a dummy email account to message the person who owned the laptop about returning it. He was quite thankful. Apparently, he hadn’t backed up his computer and thought he had lost some valuable files. He asked me how I managed to contact him, but in my reply, I explained only how I had come by the laptop and glossed over how I’d figured out his email address, and he thankfully didn’t ask about the omission.

I politely declined to have him come pick up the laptop at my house — we master criminals have to hide our addresses, after all — so we settled on my dropping it off at the nearby rental office for the complex he lived in so he could pick it up there later.

My friend was a bit disappointed to discover she wasn’t getting a new laptop any time soon but admitted she couldn’t be too angry at me for managing to return it to its rightful owner.

That’s Not The Least Bit Shady

, , , , | Healthy | February 28, 2023

I work at a doctor’s office. This is my first call ever out of training.

Patient: “I need someone to say that I’m taking [medication].”

Me: “We can definitely set you up for a medical consult, but it’s up to the doctor after that. We cannot guarantee that you’ll be given any medication.”

He starts yelling at me.

Patient: “I need to be on it for a polygraph!”

He screams at me a bit more.

Me: “Sir, we can’t do anything court-related, especially for medication, as this is telehealth; we cannot provide paperwork for court. Plus, the first visit is usually just a consultation. We can’t guarantee you’ll even be prescribed meds, and we for sure cannot backdate it.”

He said some really unpleasant things in a very typical angry customer way and disconnected the call. I internally praised every god ever.