What it's like in a scam call center

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/05/07/what-its-like-in-a-scam-call.html


They still use CRT monitors over there I see

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Slightly tangential, but did you ever see a film called “Glengarry, Glen Ross”? Same shit, different schtick.


In my youthful starving artist days I had a job for a while in a boiler room - not outright scammy but unsavoury enough to want you to take a shower - forever. Everybody hated everybody else and didn’t want to be there. The boss was a dick. The worst of it was when I knew I got a great performing gig and still had to keep the job until it started so as to make the rent. That’s when it really sucked. Also when they changed their operations to become more scammy. I quit but got my friend a job there. He lasted one day and climbed out the small bathroom window to get away. Fuck.


“Boiler Room” (2000) has a similar theme.


Always. Be. Closing.


Jim Browning has many videos on these scam operations on his YouTube channel.

Watching them gives me a sense of sympathy for the victims.
Also, seeing the scammers being pwned is kinda therapeutic in its own bizarre way.


Bottom-feeding scumbags, preying on the vulnerable. I’d call them confidence artists, but that’s like calling a script kiddie a hacker. I hope they choke on all the smoke in their workplace.


While it’s satisfying to know he turned the tables on them and managed to drain their accounts for a couple weeks, they obviously figured it out and are probably back up and running, but now they’re more vigilant about keeping hackers like him out.

A better tactic would have been to put the original audio back when you think they’re about to discover it. Then repeat the same trick a week or two later when their guard is down again. Rinse, wash, repeat, until they’re at their wit’s end.

There are probably even more malicious things he could do. What if he could mess with their spreadsheets, substitute in the numbers of people at Microsoft, or local law enforcement, or even another scam call center. So many possibilities.


The offices are “small and cramped” and full of smoke.

Justly so, I’d add screaming baby background noise if it were up to me.


The scammer’s name is Deva Mоist?


Damn he really h4xx0r3d them amirite?

I have this fantasy about responding to a scam call thusly:

Me (in warbling elderly voice): Hello?
Scammer: [insert scam pitch here]
Me: Oh, that sounds wonderful! Let me get my credit card!
Me: (Two minutes later, in firm voice) This is Colonel Smith of the US Army. We have located your position. You may want to clear the building for an incoming drone strike. That is all. (Hang up phone.)

I don’t know whether it have any effect, but what the heck. I can dream.


You can automate the warbling elderly voice part, at least.

See instruction in the right side-bar:


Three of the larger employers who will hire teens where I grew up were just barely legal scam call centers. We made “fundraising” calls for groups that aren’t but sounded a lot like legitimate entities. Things like patrolmen’s benevolent organization in a city where the real thing is policemen’s benevolent . The few I looked up were legally registered, even if I doubt they would survive a trademark challenge. If asked we would reveal that the scammy charity only got a small percentage of the donated amount. The conditions were a little more cramped than shown in that and everyone smoked heavily, though they mostly confined it to the break room. When you started you would be on cold calls to prove you could close calls, but if you had a high enough clearance rate you would be moved over to a list of people who had fallen for other scams. I still feel bad about despite working there for a few week almost 20 years ago.


To me, this is akin to undercover police video of a meth lab, a murder, a home invasion, or even a child trafficking ring… it’s despicable criminal activity, plain and simple, and these scumbags deserve no quarter.


"You’re looking at the webcam of a scammer named Deva ██████. He’s currently uploading the phone numbers of people who will be his next potential victims.

The guy works as a “professional” scammer and we’re gonna bleep his name out? Makes sense.


A small measure of Justice in this case. Hopefully 640x480 and flickery. With inadequate shielding for electron gun x-ray generation.


I threw out what would have been a perfect monitor for that, early last fall. About 30 years old, it was a 14" model that had 1024x768, but only at 50 Hz interlaced.

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Headache time.