People Who've Worked For Scam Call Centers Divulge What They Overheard

People Who've Worked For Scam Call Centers Divulge What They Overheard
Photo by Eirik Solheim on Unsplash

Does anyone enjoy receiving telemarketing calls at night? Truthfully, is there a single person alive who looks at an unlisted number while they eat dinner and think, "Excellent. I can't wait to see who this is." Telemarketers are trying to do a job, that's understandable. What may be less easy to understand and accept are the call centers who are not trying to do anything worthwhile or bring attention to a good cause, but are merely out to scam unsuspecting people of their hard earned money/bank information.

Reddit user, u/cmdrrockawesome, wanted to hear the behind the scenes scoop when they asked:

People who've worked for scam call centers, did you know? And if you did and stayed, why?

Quite The First Day With A Soulless Company


Got a job at a telemarketing place once.

First day was told "If you are okay scamming people you can make a lot of money."

After the intro class we were split into pairs and were told to listen in to the experienced "workers". Essentially how it worked was you call into a real company and the scammers would get phone numbers close to the reputable companies, so as you call in and are on hold, you think you are waiting to speak with them.

A message would come on, with some kind of scam deal, a free trip, $1 dollar subscription for 12 months that costs you hundreds later on, things like that.

The very first call this confused senior. Who thought she was waiting to speak with her bank. So she willingly gave out things like her credit card number ect. By the time she clued in and realized it was a scam and asked us not to process the information, the rep hung up on her and was actually laughing...

Needless to say, I hopped on a bus home after that to go back to the want ads.


Magazines Are Not Vacations. Just To Be Clear.

Was some bullsh-t "You won an entry into a cruise" but actually they were selling magazine subscriptions.

I worked there one shift. Actually made sales, felt gross after. Never picked up my one cheque.


Not Free In The Way You Think

Yes. Back in the 90s. We gave away free phones. Then that turned into them paying like 49.99 a month for the service. Then it turned into house alarms. Free and free hookup but like 59.99 a month.

Manager told us "if you get someone bad at speaking English aka immigrant or similar, and you don't land them your fired. Try win they won. Get their credit card number to ship. "

I quit after about a month...


To The Surprise Of No One...

I worked at one where we handled multiple different clients but it was DirectTV that got me fired. I dealt with rebates and they were so sneaky with their sh-t that I just couldn't take it anymore. Essentially they would sign people up to an expensive plan but say "no worries once you send in the rebate you'll get a huge discount on your monthly bill going forward." Then they wouldn't tell people how to send in for it properly.

I got so many calls from people, especially elderly, complaining that their bill was massive compared to what they were told it would be. I would explain the rebate and get them signed up for it but here's the kicker. It took up to 60 days for it to kick in so by the time they got it they were usually paying 3 to 4 big bills. I got fired because I started agreeing with customers that it was bullsh-t and sneaky. The company I worked for listened back to my calls and I was let go. Not even mad honestly, you couldn't pay me enough to scam people out of their money.


When The Way They Dress Is A Dead Giveaway

Worked a call center in college, lasted all of 2 hours. We were collecting for some State Trooper support fund or something, and there was a 'manager' circulating on the floor with his own manager's head set where he could come plug in and listen in on your calls. Dude was a tool, total Colin Ferrell's character from Horrible Bosses type - you know that guys, dark purple dress shirt with skinny black tie, chain wallet, bad goatee, starting to lose his hair at 25, drives a Sentra with an expensive stereo in it and smells like clove cigatrettes.....THAT guy.

Cut into a call where this elderly lady went from "sorry, I can't contribute anything this year" to "because I'm having surgery and blah blah....and Todd or Chad or whatever his name was is all " Bro, you just need to cut people like that off and get to the next call, f-ck em"

I just realized that was not what I wanted to spend my time doing...


Makes You Wonder Where All That Money Is Going

When I was about 19 I worked for a call center for 3 days. They were scamming everyone including the employees.

First, shifts were only 3 hours long and you would be scheduled for 2 of those back to back (I.e. 9-12 & 12:30-3:30). This is because if you are scheduled for longer than that you are 1. Legally entitled to break time 2. If you are scheduled for longer than 3 hours and get cut you have to be paid a minimum of 3 hours. The company would regularly cut you if you weren't bringing in enough money, you were then expected to return for your next shift.

I'm sure they screwed people's pay checks somehow but I walked out in day 3 and abandoned my paycheck.

I walked out because that was the day I learned where the money went. See, we weren't selling sh!t, we were raising money for breast cancer research. The key piece that led me to quit was when I learned that 0.1% of all donations went towards the actual research. The remaining 99.9%? Well, it was lining pockets and funding other centers to scam people.

I now only donate directly to a source and even then only after vetting them.


Florida. Figures.

For a while in Florida (go figure) I was selling "Back to the Fifties" concert tickets. This was to raise money for a police union, but we were told to start off every conversation with "You know the Just say no to drugs program in schools, for the kids?" .

Total scam, the concert was all of these has-been acts and barely anybody showed. Only lasted a couple of months


Many people have been scam like that in Florida, especially the elderly, I don't know how many time I open the tv to watch the news hearing about another elderly how got scam out of thousands of dollars because the were scared they were being convicted of a crime or that they needed a certain product because it was a requirement in the state or if not they would lose their houses, it's very sad to see.


We Want A Gift. But Only If It's MONEY.

It wasn't a scam. But I needed a job in college so I went to the job fair. First booth I approached was the alumni center, connected with the hiring manager, and got the job on the spot. Come to find out, we had to cold call alumni and ask for a "gift" to the university.

The cherry on top was that I was assigned a list of numbers of alumni who had graduated in the 60's and 70's. Few calls ended with widows upset or crying I was asking for their deceased spouse. I lasted two weeks and no called no showed. Not my proudest moment but needed out.


You've Opened The Gates To The Enemy!

I worked for a place to call people and see if they were interested in an insurance quote, if they said 10/10 interested they got BOMBARDED with calls. Constant. I left once I realized this. In Mass we don't like to talk to anyone so once I realized what I was doing I thought about my land line and was like nah. However it was commission so they kept me for a minute.


Pens? Pens??

I got hired for one that was run by Evel Knievel's cousin, back in the day.

It was the weirdest f-cking gig, they were selling boxes of cheap engraved pens for like $600. The whole job was basically cajoling people into buying these overpriced pens... I left after my first day of training.


An Endless Cycle Of Nothing

It wasn't exactly a scam, but it was kind of sketchy IMO. We were fundraising for a grab-bag of causes; pretty much any organization or campaign could hire us and outsource their telefundraising to us. I was pretty desperate for work this one summer and had failed to find anything else, so there I was.

The sketchy part was that the funds we raised were, in some cases, pretty much just being used to...continue telefundraising. It was this self-perpetuating bullsh-t. And while we were, on paper, supposed to be really honest about where the funds went, (a) our materials were always out of date and we'd sound like idiots talking about congressmen who'd died in the meantime,and (b) the people who really racked up the big money lied all the time and management turned a blind eye to it.

Also, they got mad when we wanted to use the bathroom. (You talk for hours, you want water to drink. You drink water, you pee. It's simple biology, people.)

One time the computer system screwed up and started calling Hawaii at like 4am their time. They didn't shut it off while trying to fix it, but told us to keep calling.

I was bad at it and never made much commission (you got a base hourly rate, but it was loooow), and by the time I quit, I was glad I wasn't making much money because it meant I wasn't ripping anyone off. I finally just noped out when my regular job started back up again in the fall.


Burning The Bridge And The Cliff

...I worked for a company that sold different products to people and used celebs to scam them and overcharge them and wouldn't give them the money back. My last day I had had enough because not only this, but they tried telling me I was in the bathroom for three hours in the first two hours of my day. How?

So that day I refunded every person that called and left at 12 pm. Never returned.


At Least You Waited Until The Third Day

You're desperate for a job. They call you and it seems legit enough. You go through training and its fun, the people in your training class are all pretty cool, the managers make you feel special, you think you might actually like this. Then it happens you get on the phone, first real day of work and after the 5th person hangs up you realize that you are one of THOSE people. How did I not see this before, but your Managers are behind you cheering you on, telling you not to lose steam, offering free Lunches.

You get conflicted. You know its wrong. I worked there 2 days , the third day I came to work clocked in... looked around and just got up and left.



i worked for a call center for about a month that bugged people to donate to "charities" with very similar names to actual charities, but less than 1% of the pledge would actually go towards a charity.

when i found this out i felt anxious about it and left, basically ghosting on it. no manager or employee of any kind even so much as called once when i missed my next shift. i just stopped showing up and then never heard from anyone again.

a few weeks later i got a call to my land line (that i don't give out), asking if i wanted to come work for........ the exact same company. in my head i was like "do you guys even remember that i literally DID work there and then just stopped showing up? oh ok then."

definitely how a legitimate and not shady corporation would act.....


Money Ending Up In The Wrong Hands

Worked at one place when I was 19 or so that did public radio pledge renewals. Turned out the boss wasn't actually giving that money to anyone, just kept it. Bunch of suits and uniforms showed up and arrested him, shut the company down in the middle of the work day. No idea if he was ever convicted or what might have happened to him afterward.


Probably jail. That sound like serious fraud.


Oh definitely fraud, probably federal since we were calling all over the country. I didn't follow the case so I can't say for sure what happened tho. Jail at the very least, but more likely a very long prison sentence


When They Represent The Opposite Of What They Preach


Worked for an environmental non-profit as a teen doing calls and going door to door. I didn't really understand the legislation we were getting signatures for but hey it's good for the environment. A very very nice hippie lady invited me in and explained that the non-profit I was working for was financed by the oil companies and was trying to backdoor a way to remove any liability for spills in the Gulf. I did some research and, sure enough, that was indeed the case.

Told everyone in my office. About half were horrified and the other were like "Eh, it's a livin'" I left and so did many others. It was a trash place to work anyway as you were paid by how much you brought in in donations.


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