Interesting new phone scam?

As some of you may or may not know – I work in a call center. I just took a call from a guy (we have caller ID and the number showed all 9’s – typical of solicitors) who claimed he was with the University of Oregon, updating vendor records and needed to know who the “president or owner” of our company is. Now, I have worked in office environments a long time and can smell a phone scam a million miles away (“yes, we provide your toner cartridges for your printers, what brand are they again?” uh, riiight), but have to admit this is a new one for me. Of course, I gave him the information. What do I care? Funny enough, I am paid to be helpful, answer questions and provide correct information to the people who call here – and our owner never wants his calls screened so when this guy calls back, he’s going to get right into the owner’s phone, hahahaha.

Why does it make me giggle to know that this is some type of scam? Seriously, I like my job well enough, but I can’t help finding it funny that now some schmuck has information that he will be selling on the scammy phone solicitor’s black market.

Did tha caller sound like this?

Just a guess (tried this on me once) - the person will call back and hope to get someone else, and then either tell them that Boss authorized something, or they’ll pretend to be boss to get something authorized - payment for a service/product that never existed, an order for more toner cartridges, something like that.

Yeh, I’ve seen those scams before, too. Amazing that they get people who agree to that shit. As an aside – once, I worked with this girl that I thought was pretty smart. It was a small office (4 people) and we did not have our own copier (what little we might need copied, we took to Staples or wherever) she fell for the copier cartridge shit. It took me 4 months and a phone call from our lawyer to get the company to stop sending us bills for their product. Best part of this? We never even received the product for which they were billing us! Yeh, I fired her.

I don’t understand. She’s authorized to sign purchase orders, and doesn’t know you don’t have a copier?

The company gets some random person to tell them the make and model of your copier. Then they send you wildly overpriced toner, and proceed to send you invoices for it.

Many large companies get hundreds of invoices a week and don’t have time to check each and every one to make sure it’s “real.” They see an invoice for toner, they use toner, they pay for it. Sometimes even if the toner wasn’t received or the person who ordered it didn’t have the authorization to actually make purchases. Even if they discover it was unauthorized, if they actually did get the toner they will often pay it anyway because it’s easier than dealing with it. They might make more of a case if they never received it, but in my experience most of the time they do get something; it’s just cheap-ass toner at 4 times the going rate.

It’s a successful scam. I get 2-10 calls per week on it, and I looooove to screw around with them. Other times I just say in a sad voice, “I am so sorry you are so desperate for work that you have to go and knowingly lie to people for 8 hours a day. How do you sleep at night?” (And yes, it’s not a question of some poor schlub “just doing his job” - it’s totally clear they know they are scamming you, and they are very aggressive at trying to get you to give them the information they want, and get very testy if you try to head them off.)

Re getting the boss’s name, it’s so they can call other people inside or outside the company and say, “My buddy Mike Brown over at XYZ gave me your name and said you’d talk to me.” It’s all a lie.

Salesmen will do that, too, hoping to call back and be put through to “the decision maker”. I’ve heard of it being especially hilarious is small satelite offices of large companies, with telemarketers trying to sell business credit cards or lightbulbs to small businesses calling them. IIRC someone around here worked for Volvo dealership, and would answer (honestly) “Bill Ford” to those questions-- and then mail would come for Bill Ford.

Oh my gosh, I heard of this scam 10 years ago!

Actually, she wasn’t even authorised to touch petty cash. These people call, say “Hi, I am so-and-so with XYZ, we handle your whatever needs and I just wanted to make sure that you are still in business? It’s time to send you another shipment, so you guys are still there, right?” When they get a “yes” they thank you and hang up. They then have you on recording agreeing to the shipment (the way it’s worded, the shipment is implied) and in many cases, larger companies will just pay invoices that they get. By the time most people notice that they have been billed fraudulently, it’s too late for any legal recourse.

The thing is, she very well did know that we didn’t have a copier, as it was part of her job requirement to go get copies made when we needed them. She wasn’t the brightest bulb on the tree. She also used to get her family (who all lived out of state) to call her while at work on our toll-free number. I itemised those calls and the charges were taken out of her final check. Some people just shouldn’t be allowed to breathe.