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A Credit Rating That Never Dies

, , , , | Right | April 28, 2021

I’m a customer service representative for a credit card company. It’s my first day.

Caller: “My card needs to be updated; my last name has a typo.”

He gives me the details, but I cannot find his account, which I tell him.

Caller: “It’s my wife’s card. Her name is [Wife].”

I get the account open and see that his name is not on it.

Me: “Can I speak with your wife?”

Caller: “She’s been dead for eleven years, but I still use her card.”

I transferred him to the fraud department!

Gosh, Is There Anything That Isn’t Fraud Anymore?

, , , , | Legal | April 13, 2021

I work for a construction-related carded system in the inbound call centre that sells the cards. All cards have qualification requirements; some are one-day courses and others are full university degrees and multi-year NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications). We have access to a database of individuals that work within the construction industry or have taken construction-related courses.

I’ve informed this caller that he doesn’t have any of the qualifications on his file needed to get a gold bricklaying card, and I ask if he’s done anything more than his carpentry NVQ 1 qualification.

Caller: “No. I’ve only done the carpentry one. But I need the gold brikkie card.”

Me: “I wouldn’t be able to do the gold card, then, sir, just the green carpentry one. The system doesn’t allow overrides; it has to be in the file to produce the card.”

Caller: “Can’t you just… add one in? One of them NVQs, level 3?”

Me: “No, sir.”

Caller: “Why the h*** not?!”

Me: “That’s fraud, sir.”

Caller: “I won’t tell anyone, sweetheart.”

Me: “The calls are recorded, sir.”

Caller: “Oh.”

One Large Scammer Slammer With Extra Stupid, Please

, , , , , , , | Working | February 11, 2021

At the pizza shop I work for, if a person calls in for delivery, we ask how they want to pay. If they want to pay with a card, we have to enter their card information into the system. After we confirm the authorization on the payment, we have no way to see the credit card number. If you were to print the ticket, it would only show the last four numbers of the card with the authorization number. 

One day, it’s just my general manager and me in the store. I walk out from the back and she’s on the phone.

Manager: “Again, I’m so sorry. I will definitely look into that ASAP. Tell the officers to come in and ask for [Manager] and we’ll do whatever we can.”

After she hangs up, she pulls a stack of credit card receipts out of the safe and begins going through them. She hands me a small slip of paper that she’d been writing on while on the phone.

Manager: “Do me a favor and look at last night’s transactions and try to find these three totals. A customer got delivery last night and was charged three different times on her card. I need to see if these totals are in the system and I’m going to see if the signatures match.”

This is easy, as you can organize tickets by their total, and I find and print a copy of all three orders.

Me: “Only one of these is delivery; the other two are from the counter… and have an employee discount added to them.”

She hands me the other receipts and asks me to help her look for those three tickets. She finds the delivery one and I find one of the counter ones and burst out laughing.

Me: “[Counter Person] is a f****** moron.”

It turns out that last night, our counter person wrote down this lady’s entire information, used it to buy two meals for herself, gave herself the employee discount, and then SIGNED HER OWN NAME TO THE RECEIPT. The police arrive and my manager shows them the receipts. She starts talking with them about how [Counter Person] also used this lady’s card to buy $500 worth of stuff online. While this is going on, the phone rings and I answer it.

Counter Person: “Hey, [My Name], can I place an order for delivery?”

She placed the order and, I kid you not, she TRIED TO USE THE STOLEN CREDIT CARD. It didn’t go through because the customer had already canceled it, so she said she’d just pay cash. I always wondered who got there first: the pizza or the cops.

So Much For “Personal Bonds”

, , , , , | Legal | January 25, 2021

I work for a small contracting and landscaping company. The crew is about a dozen guys, the owner, and me in the office over the owner’s garage. Every Monday morning, I meet with [Owner] to discuss our plan for the week — progress on jobs, bills to be paid, new clients, etc. — and then [Owner] is gone for the rest of the week. He calls or texts to get updates, but otherwise, I almost never see him.

One Monday, we are having our meeting when his phone rings.

Owner: “I have to take this. Play some music or something?”

Me: “Oh, yeah, sure.”

I plug in my headphones.

Owner: *After his call* “Okay, I’ll see you later. I have a few prospective clients today. I’m gonna go to the bank and pay [Vendor] $2,000 today.”

Me: “Sounds good.”

[Owner] often pays bills in person if he’s going to be in the area, as he believes it builds a personal bond between the vendor and contractor. I mark off the bill and go about my day. On Wednesday, [Vendor] calls the office.

Me: “[Landscaping Company]. How can I help you?”

Vendor: “Hey, uh, just a reminder that your bill is overdue.”

Me: “[Owner] paid $2,000 on Monday.”

Vendor: “What?”

Me: “[Owner] said he stopped by.”

Vendor: “No, he never came in. And you owe last month, too.”

Me: “Oh. Uhh… Okay, just a minute.”

I log in to the banking website and see that the money was taken out on Monday.

Me: “Maybe he got caught up. I’ll give him a call and call you back.”

Vendor: *Annoyed* “You need to pay by the end of the week.” *Hangs up*

I call [Owner] but his phone goes straight to voicemail. I leave a message telling him that [Vendor] called, and I explain what I said to them. An hour later, he calls me back.

Owner: “Why did you tell them I’d be there?”

Me: “Because… you said you would?”

Owner: “And I’ll get there. I’m gonna take another $2,000.”

Me: “Okay, for bills?”

Owner: “It’s my money!”

Me: “Your paycheck?”

Owner: “Look, I gotta go. Just don’t worry about it.” *Hangs up*

I was in charge of documenting payroll, so I noted that he’d taken it — tax-free — on our payroll website. I went back through the bank statement against my notes from our meetings and saw that he had taken money from the account every day he’d said he was paying vendors. I contacted each vendor and they all said he hadn’t paid.

[Owner] was out of contact for the next week, not even showing up for the Monday meeting. I called his phone several times but he never answered. I went down to the main house and knocked on the door. Before I could say anything, his wife told me I was fired and closed the door in my face.

Two weeks later, I received a paycheck and a letter from [Owner]’s wife. She had followed [Owner] on one of his “business trips” and found that he had been visiting sex workers and using the company’s money to pay them.

I found out through the workers that [Owner]’s wife had filed for divorce and full custody of their three children. The company went under during the proceedings, and last I heard, [Owner] was in prison.

This Is A Lying-Doesn’t-Fly Zone

, , , , , , | Working | December 31, 2020

I work in a department that creates graphics and presentations for the rest of the firm. We have regulars that routinely use our services, but we’re available to anyone in the company.

I’m alone in the center overnight two days before Christmas when I get a call from an unfamiliar employee asking if we can edit a PDF. It’s not an uncommon request; sometimes documents are converted to PDF for sharing or printing, only for a typo or alignment problem to be discovered at the last minute.

Me: “Sure, that’s most likely not a problem.”

Employee: “Great!” 

The employee emails me the file.

I open the file and stare at it, aghast. It’s a note from this employee’s doctor. Evidently, a long-scheduled plane trip over the holidays had been imperiled by a serious injury a few weeks back; the note states that the employee is cleared to fly.

The instructions are to add the word “not” into the note so that it would appear to read that the employee was not cleared to fly.

I’m ready to refuse this outright when I hear the internalized voice of my boss. Like most “cost centers,” our department doesn’t have a lot of cachet within the company, and recent complaints involving a few of us trying to enforce certain standards that not all of the senior officers care about have led to firm instructions from our boss not to refuse anything our requesters ask for.

Basically, our option to say, “No, we don’t do that,” has been taken away, leaving me wondering how best to handle this employee’s request to help them scam their airline without violating departmental directive.

I call the employee back.

Me: *Politely* “I’m sorry, but I do not feel I can ethically handle your request.”

The employee persists.

Employee: “It’s just inserting a word! I simply want to get my plane tickets refunded now that I’ve decided not to take the trip.”

After going back and forth a while, I finally have to say outright that I’m not comfortable falsifying medical documents on the employee’s behalf.

The employee tells me they understand and hangs up, only to call back to say they’re going to try to do it themselves, and asking if I can tell them how to do that.

I’m thinking about PDF-tampering permutations of the old “feed someone a fish” adage as I take another look at the document. It’s an image, not a text-based PDF, so modifying it isn’t as simple as clicking “Edit” and typing in “not.” I tell the employee that the change is not something they can do themselves; they accept this and hang up. I then document everything for my boss, wondering what the response will be.

After the holidays, I hear back from my boss. My refusal to do the job was supported, not because the request was unethical but because it was personal and not business-related.