Scam Center Tour (a story)

Scam Center Tour

I wasn’t sure whether I should be honoured that I was trusted enough to be given this oppportunity… How are you supposed to feel when people who prey on the innocent and vulnerable for profit, and have no guilt about it, trust you with their inner workings?

They didn’t take any measures to hide their faces, where they were located at that moment, or even any of their methods. I was talked thru their planning as if I were about to become one of them.

They had laptops and a desk and cozy chair for every caller.

They had profiles of lovely faces for the lonely who were so desperate for love that they were willing to send money to help them out, having never met them. For plane tickets, hotel rooms, passports, so they could come visit. Unpaid bills, family members taken ill who needed drugs. All because this cute picture online was emailing them and cooing in their ears. Occasionally phoning to butter them up. To make it seem more credible.

All they needed was someone who sounded like they lived in the same country. Well, many Indian kids are sent to school in North America now. They did the calls. All they needed to do was mark the file of who had talked to this person.

That was one room.

There was another that did govt fraud cases. They told their marks that they would face jail and lose their homes if they didn’t send cash to them immediately. These people were honest enough to say they were calling from a call center, but they worked for the govt of your country. Chasing down a debt you owed for them.

Another room was geared toward current crises. A flood, a storm, an outbreak.

And they asked for money to forward to the right charity dealing with the crisis. Like the Red Cross. But when you called them directly, your donation was never recorded. They used scare tactics, lies and sob stories to enrapture your empathy.

And there was another room.

This one was the techies who convinced people to let them onto their computers and ended up with malware that froze them, after they found every financial piece of information accessible so they could wipe out their savings and use their credit cards.

I didn’t know what to do with this

Were they gangs? Mobs? Narcissistic con artists?

But I should have known it was just way too easy.

I wrestled with what I had seen overnight. And in the morning I called the police. Thinking someone should know, I guess?

They knew. But by the time they got to this iteration of an office, they were gone. Not one chair, desk or laptop was left to be fingerprinted. Not one person was left to arrest.

It looked like the place had been empty for months. The neighbours refused to talk. And it was in an area where people just didn’t have security cameras. For whatever reasons.

It was so obviously not used, that even though the police knew such places did exist, they arrested me. I must have given them false information.

Here i sit waiting to go to court, where I will be charged. As a scapegoat for all the frustration the local police felt in these chases. Hunting mules, gangsters and mobsters. And at best finding a shiftworker who had basically read a script or smiled to get their cute face used to capture a heart. A shiftworker who was just wanting enough money to feed their family and for the first time ever, gettint a wage above starvation levels.

Everyone else had evaporated. But me. And I felt the weight of their anger, as i sat in a jail, waiting to be tried. As if I had been set up.

…..resources

(so you know I’m not talking out of my hat)
scamwatch
govt of Australia
cbc.ca
topic.com
800notes.com
Marketplace News Magazine

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