I keep thinking about this scam I used to run into in the 90’s when I worked customer service for a phone company, and was curious to hear if a) my guess to the nature of the scam sounds right, and b) if these calls still come in to call centers now.
Among other weird calls we would get were the group(s) we called the “Haitian kids”. (The calls predominantly came in from Haiti). These kids would call in begging for a 3 minute courtesy call (we would occasionally do courtesy calls if a person was having issues with their calling card or account). The kids would start crying and coming up with these “oh please, oh please, my mother is dying, please, Please, I just got raped, please, my sister just died” and really hamming it up with the worst fake crying sounds I ever heard begging for a free 3 minute courtesy call. In almost every case we would hang up on them immediately. However if it was slow, and I was bored enough to want to f*** with them, I would let them go on and on, wanting to see how long it would take before they started cursing me out and calling me a btch. Sometimes I would tell them I was going to put the call through but had to put them on hold first, and then mute my phone and sit there doing homework while they stewed. They would stay on the line for up to 10-15 minutes before hanging up. Bear in mind, these weren’t “once a week” types of calls – these were “15-20 calls per night PER customer service rep.” This means that just in our call center, we were dealing with 100-200 of these calls per shift.
I never did figure out what the scam they were trying to play was about. It doesn’t make sense that they were just scamming a free call to the States – not with hundreds of these calls flooding in all the time. It wasn’t them calling a bank, prison, business, etc. either. Every now and then I would make the call and listen in just long enough to hear who they were calling before announcing I knew this was a scam and cutting them off. They were calling what sounded like residential numbers but there was no pattern (where they were always calling the same specific numbers or only calling certain areas). The only thing I can think of was that they were pulling a “419 scam”, and needed their target’s caller ID to show the area code & number for the call center in Iowa to help sell their con act. Given how many calls a night flooded in, I’m pretty sure it had to have been a fairly large and organized group directing the calls. Just curious if anyone else ever ran into this.