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How do people fall for these scams?

I’ve been doing contact center work for a few years now, I’m now at my third center where I plan on staying for the foreseeable future. I know everybody has that call that they will never forget due to the callers utter stupidity. Let me tell you about my favorite one.

I had just started at this contact center and just went live on the production floor for a brand new department at this facility. It was a MAJOR tech company that happened to have gift cards for their mobile store. One of the main call types we took were scam calls.

Me: thanks for calling support, how can I help you?

C: hi I’ve just been scammed into purchasing hundreds of dollars in gift cards and I want a refund

Me: okay sir, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been scammed, can you please tell me about what happened?

C: so I got a message on Facebook from Ellen Degenerous telling me I won her holiday sweepstakes and I just had to pay for shipping. She told me to go to the store and buy $100 gift card and give her the code.

(It was February at this point)

C: so a couple days later she messaged me again and tells me that there were shipping problems due to an accident with the driver and delivery vehicle and I had to pay for additional shipping to get the items shipped thru another carrier

Me: okay, so how much did you have to pay for additional shipping?

C: $200 in gift cards and I gave her the codes. She arranged for them to shipped by DHL and then the DHL van was robbed at gun point and the driver was hospitalized. So she made me buy more gift cards to pay for the van damages and the drivers medical expenses since my items were the only ones being shipped in that vehicle. She made special arrangements to have my items shipped due to the inconvenience with the first delivery

Me: oh my goodness I’m so sorry about your $350. Is that all that you were scammed out of?

C: no I also had to pay for DHL to relocate my shipment but it never arrived and Ellen won’t message me back. I just want a refund for these gift cards.

At this point I’m just in utter disbelief. I wanted to laugh because this is comical that somebody would think a famous celebrity would inform them of a winning sweepstakes via Facebook message or that the customer is responsible for medical expenses and vehicle repaid of a delivery company. I was actually just sad for the man. He was older and said he lived on a fixed income and that was his bills money and was expecting the money from Ellen to help pay everything.

I think about him often. I hope he’s okay.

What do you think?

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How many of you feel like the call center environment has become more toxic since the rise of Covid?

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