Finding out who someone works for

I have a really non-nefarious reason for asking – someone whom I know may have been scammed this way.

If you have a name of someone who works at a given (really big) company, what’s a good way to find out who they report to?

I’d figure I can get his boss’s name with a phone scam to HR that seems to be an employment check: “hi, I’m doing a credit check on John Q? Can you tell if he works there? What’s his salary, and who does he report to? Thanks!!”

Would this work, or is there some other way a scammer would check you out?

Basic social engineering.

Suppose the company’s main number is 555-6000. Dial 555-6123, and you’re apt to find someone at that company. Tell them you’re trying to find So-and-So’s boss, but lost the number, wasn’t it Mike Bigcheese, or did he leave the company and if there’s a way they might look it up for you?

No luck? Try dialing 555-6124. Keep at it. Eventually, you’ll hit someone who’s bored and knows how to use the corporate directory.

It’s one of the oldest tricks out there, and sadly, used to alarmingly good effect by toner scammers.