« Reply All

#103 Long Distance, Part II


This week, Alex and Damiano take a trip. This is the conclusion of last week's episode, Long Distance.

Further Reading

Snigdha Poonam's story on tech support scams in the Hindustan Times

If you suspect you are a victim of a tech support scammer, you see a suspicious pop-up, or get an unsolicited tech support email, you can make a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission by following this link, or by contacting the company that the call center was impersonating directly.

Microsoft fraud report page

Apple fraud report page

Microsoft did a global survey of tech support scams in 2016, and the results are pretty interesting. You can find it here.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This episode is brought to you by better for him a new podcast from eighty people. In each episode Francesca Ramsay talks to visionaries in business leaders about mistakes. They ve made how they work their way through them and came out better for it. Listen on sport fi or wherever you get your podcast before we start the show, if you have not already listen to last week's upset number one or two long distance, go! Listen to that. First, this absurd is the conclusion to that story from electricity file? I'm a little worried about
You made you feel it so PJ's. Me and damianus. We landed in Delhi on Monday evening. This was about him, the go around early July and White like white, do? What are you guys, hoping for so come all told me that he would answer all of my questions about this call center. If I came to visit so I was there to see if he would answer my questions and if he wouldn't, I was gonna, find the answers for myself. I just wonder, is used by gate number. We met up with an hour driver, we gotta driver, I was just has got light. He takes us to our hotel right there
I trust you have got just unavailable to change your car a come all its Alex Goldman. Are you planning on coming in tomorrow? We want to meet you. Give you call them all morning. Take it easy by so we wake up the next day and come all still hasn't called us back, which is fine because that sort of Kemal always does he disappears and reappear search on his whim. So we do a. We always do and he disappears witches investigator, costing more ripe and here's our plan. We want to find the call centre at the very least we want to know exactly where it is and from there we can figure out what to do next morning. Just wonder when wanting
How are you so? I told us wonder, to take us to the neighbourhood called punjabi bug we want to go to the main drag their called club. Road. Ok anywhere and here gears good, damn it's hot. Literally a sidewalk years, or just to let it alone sidewalks coming traffic. So we have to address. Is forecasting and they're both on this road lot of like businesses cram Businesses crammed signs charge. There's a salon called head locks skies carrying lot of bamboo and do you know anything about the neighbourhood? Is it like? Scam, city, the neighborhoods, actually pretty residential, and there are other call centres there, but were pretty sure that their religion,
first place. We go for young archives. What you are, I would go first Jeff. I would go to the bargaining Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding I think this is it S. Right so the first place we go is chugging charges that so funny. Yes, I shall get its own club road at its in between to address is that we have so how do I get up and so on this building? There's a staircase that actually outside of the building and on each floor, there's a landing which has the entrance to the business on that floor and we go up three flights to wear chug. It is in there's a guy standing out in front of the bar. I guess open. I now know we're not with vigour, but just to explain to me the chuck it actually shut down. This isn't chugging anymore, a well has been taken over by day by the food or sexually, so they have to use the name to headphones, opened today it hasn't even opened, yet they were doing us.
I want you, they don't have the headphones. Yet that's where the music Phoenician mention that, because it's one of those headphone bars, that's the thing you never heard about headphone clubs, where, like DJ, Play music but there's no sound over the speakers and people were headphones and listen to it and has so embarrassing. Does the the image of people dancing to music you can't hear in a club, is the only thing that can make dancing club less comfortable, no refugee picture. This, hurray DJ three different kinds of music, not pick your chance opens always about doing Theo food, but do you know, do you know guys outcome? here from a call centre by club road. Did this send upstairs this man is worthwhile that wasn't as it goes into domestic call centre, so you don't Many guys who come in here from an international calls in the end because not been opened up for the public so go downstairs and we're like: let's try, the first
address we ever castings and that addresses one club aided ideal of here, We actually talk to a guy. There he's really sweet. Says: castings inputs limited renting, a third angel The next thing for me: it's a meadow patient centre I'm really! Sorry! I don't know anything about a car, ok bye. Leaves us with the other address we have, which is twenty six club road and twenty six club road is the address that a castings has on the map on their website. So then we walk, I would say, is probably half a mile three quarters of a mile to the twenty six and it was hot outright it when it was truly a nightmare. I get Alec stoic and cool above his mother's comfort. He would like, as so, there was a good cafe. Start, but there is a large Starbucks on the blood, so like pretty much out, suddenly be outside for thirty minutes at a time, then we would have to go, and since
Colleagues, it is a good gentlemen reporter who do so also leg he too sick. I don't. Maybe I haven't spent aloud and walking around with you, but you just like fall in dumbo. Allow kind like do you know when you like Zeb on your army than you wake up in it like you can't really move it. Those are all of his limbs, yeah yeah yeah, raises like stone going around and fallen, is going on in this studio ray. I know what happened and I he became almost fell into sewer on the side of the road I almost feel that WAR Murray Everything's, so it so it is you guys. Are you walk up coffee outlook,
time put ice all and any Father sewer, but eventually, like three days later, you make your way down the street from one club road to twenty, so clever openings, and lovely we get to twenty six club road, this one balance, twenty six! So it's this building according to my fancy builder, and it looks much more like a possible candidate. So, on the first floor, this building there's a bar there's a business on the second floor and then the third floor had no markings. They would all tend to be as three ass. A security guard costumes. We could hello, sir, how are you is there call center accosting is building a call center castings,
This security guard does not speak English and we can't really understand each other, but here's the thing. We know that a castings is supposed to be on the third floor of the building the Dayton, and this just really feels like it could be the place and if it is a castings, at six p m, like an hour from now right when people in the? U S are waking up. There's going. Stream of young call center workers heading into this building? So we decide to stick it out. I've got my eyes peel for any faces that I recognise and so far are awaiting waiting by seven. Thirty, no there's nothing going on at this address. This can't be the place. So now what No, you saw me we're starting to feel a little bit desperate and even though he's been dodging us, I sent quality
message. I said: hey come all what the address of a castings. I know it's a clever I'm just trying to find the exact address income, its back, he says yeah. I was I left it's no more in operation for the time being, dude I'm freaked out a little bit. What if they closed down, come on they closed down two days ago, possible. We sit down on a stupid side of the road. I think literally have my head in my hands and I'm just like. Oh my god, we flew all the way here to find this cost. And now we have no idea where it is like no real way of figuring out Ivan,
not my stomach and then after a day, chock full of disappointments. Kemal delivers us one piece of hope. He takes me again and he says, let's meta for dinner, said I'll pick you up and then we can go somewhere good for good somewhere good for a night out. Great, yes, sounds good So we had to this area called Cyber hub, which is just south of Delhi in Kemal, tells us to meet him in his wine bar. There just got nervous, so we get There- and it's like this big, huge american looking all apart while I was in the small it's like near the entrance we pull out our recorders again, yeah yeah
security guards immediately tell us to put them away really. Yes, so we take our iphones recorded of her iphones? Do you think that the strange: how does this stranger get into a place like security like this we wander around for a while waiting for law, and then he says: hey, I'm in the wine bar come eat me so then come all comes out of the bar, and I recognize him. Nice to meet you? May we give each other a very awkward hug come all kind of turned sacrament as one of the lead one arm things you translate, deflects you hate hugs. I know how are you do you mind if we goes where little wider very loud and alive So what does it look like he's? Much,
smaller than I imagine him to be because he looked big stocky in the photos that we have with him. Yeah he does any smiling any friendly, but he really wants us to go in the bar. He says I got a friend with me. Come on inside I gotta and with me. So we go inside. This person has their back to us and you can see them back he's wearing sort of a tight lasher using Harrison, looked back, leafy dude and we get around. Earlier this year, the table we face him and immediately we realize nice to meet you, it's depart firmer. The owner of a ghastly extends say yeah also what a villainous reveal yeah totally and we're both lake we're both like. Well, we have no we're not prepared for this. Are you ready baby
so obviously it is very hard to understand this audio. It was very hard to understand them in this very loud bar that they insisted on meeting us in. I thought I'm going to try and roll with this dummy on our side, I'm going to throw. Why did you want to throw up the whole time we've been talking to come all we thought that we were and that we were talking to someone who was trying to either keep us a secret or who is sort of doing his own thing going. Roads is like this guy used to be in the mob, he's out the mob he's entails by the mob. He tells you can meet and then the godfather is at the table. I actually so I leaned over and I whispered Alex's ear and they say don't ask any questions was just watch them and try to figure out. What's going on and then turned to deepen Europe itself, the european taxpayer. I did you grow up and down. I want your boy belly was so we try to make.
Great small talk, but deep August has one question that he keeps asking: what is your plan? What you did it would be like if I am come, on the other hand, is leaned back in his chair he's barely saying a word he's constantly referring to deep, like sir and boss and he's becomes a sort of meat that you like like he's trapped, underneath something yeah and at one point during dinner, I ask them all so six months ago, did you ever expect that we'd be sitting across from one another and before he can even answer, depart immediately launches into what seems like a scripted response to any question we might have about the validity of
business yeah. It's basically like how the call center never did anything wrong and, like the scam call that we got was just like this funny, weird mix up and anyway, like a cost. Things is shut down now, so Don T worry about it, I asked deep rock you know like what are you doing now that you shut the call center down and he said oh, I got I'm I'm in construction now right, so we continue eating. He's not hungry? I don't know, that's all you, man damianus, to stress, to eat anything first day in Delhi, my body like breaking reasonably. They keep ordering stuff and are not be rude, some just like Mohammed Chop and a way of give and take it. Did you guys everytime? I thought this meal might finally be arouses like I'll. Take some seventy five letters like a spice. Meanwhile, my stomach is like a fuckin sir.
So lay up up up up up up up up up up, I'm everywhere, you another reason why I was so nervous. Yes, at one point out, just like tells them where we're staying tells them the name of our hotel, which is heavily house, did you is what in why so eyes suffer through the rest of this meal, and then we finally call it a night nice meeting? You guys find me we're talking mass atrocities in Kabul, then let me know what should I do about gonna come on guys, listen to everyone my god, www and then we go to bed so the next day, Wednesday.
Primarily. What we do is move hotels, great right through they morning comes and we're honestly starting to panic a little bit, because the clock is ticking. We have two days left in India and we ve got nowhere with these guys and then, in the early afternoon my phone rings. Echo are both good. What what are you up to weaken meeting? One are one I reckon I let you directorate, ok bye. The first time we met with come all. We were totally caught off guard because we did not expect people to be their right and we also call on to feel them out a little bit before we started hitting them a tough questions. But this time we were thinking. Ok, we're going into this we're gonna be prepared. We're gonna, ask them really direct questions about a cost. So we describing, as your planet sit interview him in the manner of a journalist.
So the place that was to meet them is is a Barcode tourist lounge. We get there early. We ride or to turn down a music interaction. I sleep get our quarters out I'm anyways Damietta marketing test the sound check, one check to and we're dislike city, there at the table, ready for them when they show up and then their hair de park income all right and things immediately start going off the rails, its clear that they know everybody in this bar waiter that I had bribe like snaps due attention. They say hi, the manager hazard a year, you guys been acting once they see the microphone. I you're doing recorded
I am not able to, but I travelled halfway across the world to talk to you guys have so many questions for you anything but do not allow wise and not allow got additive adult mine what I mean, I'm not hiding it from me. I'm talking to you now, I'm letting you know that I'm reporting detox ups, we from the table to talks the waiter Kemal, sits down you're not here for the interview why I just came because we are friends I know. But like I mean I'm, not I'm just like so look I mean I have so many questions about accostings. You know we are working on a story about it and I think, would be worthwhile You guys talk, I think another thing right now what
what is happening but its final problem, but we are not going to say anything about all the things we are just here for you Alex. Nothing is not where the shifting yonder. I understand you pack keep saying why he's taken this make fun of me turn it off turn it off right, told me and then he waves is sort of like a waves, the waiter over in the waiter kind of leans over a table, and he says: do you want me to call the authorities wow? and we say: no, we don't want you to call. The authorities cannot exist, ass, anything I'm not insisting anybody do anything we put. The recorder away. No one says anything deep. Looking after the side, he just pulls out a say: it starts to smoke but like The waiter still there and deep August talking keeps
something in Hindi to the waiter. So sitting there, then I'm just like waiting for the cops to show up everything. Body saw me like we need to get out of here and then waiter comes over and puts a full bottle, a whiskey on the table, Deepak Poor themselves, drink whisky, just whisky, whiskey and coke. That's a drink and set and they put himself another and drinks it, and he is horrifying, sweat every couple of minutes. He would take us napkin unjust, wipe his face down cause. He was sweating so madly. This is like a guy who feels cornered by us. I think and ask him all about Martin, unlike member, that first call that you had with us and come all. He completely denies that he was ever Alex Martin and a more than that. He says he
hired Alex Martin. He was like back. I was a troublemaker who used to work for me. I fired him and what clause really saying is that, like anything, you think you know? me being Alex. Martin are really anything. It's a lie period and then he turns the deep They speak in Hindi for a second and then De Boxes Alex Martin FUCK bag. And then he pulls out his right hand. Miss Pinky, sort of like gnarled, Scotland is bruise on it. He says you know how I got this. This happened when I slept the shit out of our guy woe, and so at that point too sake. I'm done with these guys like there, no reason for us to talk to them anymore, so mean and left the bar and left deep, Kamal Commodity. No words
This is insane. That night I was having a very hard times sleeping so in the middle of the night I just bigger my phone and called adding record it. I just picked up my phone call the call centre- and I was like let me talk to Kemal Andy Park and the person on the other and kept just keep saying to me. Who are you? Who are you? What do you want from us? Who are you? Why do you want to talk to them and has become all Andy part, do work there right in their like who are you, and I was like it still exists- has two still exist the Friday morning. We wake up and were feeling at this point confronting these guys are going to make any difference if we want to get anywhere. Why we're here? The only thing we can do is find that aspect the only problem is we have
No idea where it is we have one day left This episode is brought to you by better for it a new podcast from eighty p hosted by Francesca Ramsay. We all make mistakes better for it How mistakes have shaped the lives and careers of visionaries and business leaders and helps them think differently about what their working for you'll hear from an entrepreneur who ventured out on his own, and so I went out. I took seven hundred dollars. I had in the bank, but my own pickup truck took some flyers business cards and later I had a business and in aid. Our role breaker, whose learned why we all care about work. In the first place, you deprive the word, the
do you want to be able to tell your friends about it? You want to be able to feel like you're, making a different you'll hear how they work their way through their mistakes and came out better for him. The non Spotify or wherever you get your pockets. So we decided to find a castings, but we had no idea where to start so we went back to punjabi bog. We went back to our Starbucks and we met up, With this report, or name sneaked upon him, How are you actually someone that we had been in touch with before we talk to her a lot. Will we were in the? U S? she worked for the Hindustan Times and she did sort of the defining the gigantic feature story. Indian feature story about call center scams she spent months.
After these guys are all like showing up somewhere and figuring out that thank you that the pleasing this ban and we would like spent days finding out where the police actually was. Basically, what she learned is that this is a problem of epidemic proportions. There are call centres of maybe ten to fifteen people, there's call centres of like four hundred to five hundred people and and almost all of these tech support scams that hit the. U S come from India likely to ninety percent, and why can't I just rest everybody. It's really hard for indian authorities to stop these places because new ones are star up every day and as soon as you take one out in a pop up somewhere else under a different name
but sneaker has figured out a way to always find these call centres, which is what even scare me call centres post their job listings online, these desperate for employees all the time for like they won't give you a fake items like not. If you were coming to interview which have gone, I should call accosting thing that I have an appointment and I can't find the address give me that you have the number hello, hello, which have already I don't wanna, put any by reason of another without causing any out very quickly, she's a kiss. I speak English and I've done, some calls awoke lemon. Until we get a place like a course things where there is more opportunities for growth. And and to do further improve my communication
what time seven o clock organic What can you will send me? The address venture laboured? Why don't you just tell me the entire dress and I'll come to deal? I come to the building. I thank the Lord ok by what it is she said to come into real immediately. Did you give me the address, noticed a text for the address? And maybe fifteen minutes later we get the address you what's the address, so it's one club road waiver, one cover was the meditation centre yeah. That was one club rude, but this is one club road plot number one. Third floor, punjabi bag Extension, New Delhi, opposite the twenty four seven store and above Figaro salon. Ok, so we go out
I'd start wandering over supposed to be on the other side of the street, and now we must have passed there. No sneaked is asking people like Figaro Salon figures. One walking in the middle of the street. She walks in the middle of sweet with such grace. Indignity confidence and I see Figaro salon. And then I realized- oh, my god. I know the call centres it's the place around about headphones fog. Is the place Oh, my god, a castings is above the baronet. We visited so when they were going to target it was in the building. Yes, so you guys are ripe and eat them.
Yes, it's it's the place right above headphones. It's been right above it all crazy out there on the first day, so we're like listen. We want to go up there and see if we can talk to but and sneaked says it is probably not it idea for two white guys of my phones to go blundering into this call centre that they ve spent six months harassing. So look why don't I go up? There do the job interview and I will get a lay of the land and see if it's for you to go out there. I've done this sort of interview like now at ten times. I just what they really. Nothing goes wrong back onto of any reason. They would like suspect me of shady. So so snigger says if I'm not out in ten minutes, call me if I don't answer, call the police well, so we post up across the street and snigger heads into the building. I
get my phone it seven. Oh two, p m. She needs to be a by seven twelve sore gonna looking down at the entrance of headphones. Why she than help us honour another woman some months ago. Here he comes across the USA and go back to our Starbucks to regroup. So I think it really with Norway to guess this structure. Snigger gets a napkin and she's
to draw only out of the inside of a castings baggies. First, she says: take the stairs to the third floor. There's a glass door and in front of that door is a security guard. This young guy who's. Just sitting there with a with a notebook outside the doors, once you go through that door, the calling floor place, what are actually making the cause is on your left and people. She says well more than forty people, while not listening to says, there's these rows of desks and eyes and ears like Don muscular man, Stanza, like literally muscular man stanza looking menacing to his left and right is making we ve working really weird by you, can be looking to see through the door and you wanted look like not like.
This raises a floor manager, so we want to go up there just to see if we can get into the call center see. If we can talk to anybody, basically how far we can get. But the problem is, we are his. We can't go in if deeper can come all right, because we don't wanna have a confrontation. We don't have modified, So here is what we do. I come up, I call them, or can we meet later this evening and I make plans to meet up with their way across town like an hour from now, but we are going to go to the call center. We're finally getting some leverage on these guys? Ok, we'll call you, if we're not If you don't call you and be done so at this point, the sun's gone down, Snig DE leaves us across the street crossing the street. We The building
We got to the first floor. Here's Figaro saw on the second floor seemed to be opened. Headphones bar third floor now are approaching. Castings came from customs, so when we get to the front door of a castings theirs, nothing. There knock the gate. Is closed for some reason: Great pulled down over the door No security guard theirs, I d like we're, so there would be worse than the would at my tears empty there's. No working saying that its accosting all that's there security, camera snigger was here ten minutes ago, and now it's
please shut down when reminded well from the outset. We're standing there waiting, occasionally knocking on the great but we're not getting any answer, and we just don't really have any idea what to do. Suddenly we see snigger coming up the stairs we had forgotten to like text collar, anything until she's super freaked out. She doesn't know. What's going on she's like coming to the building to see what the deal is, so we we tell her the great on the front door is closed and sneaked seems really rattled idea. I haven't think it's because like if that's how it everyone things as a domestic agenda, the Bologna, shutters and then they do their scam shift so that they will get your clothes business like proper crime set up
Snigger has found a million shady call centres before and she says that even the sketches once leave their door open to give it the patina of respectability yeah and the fact that a has their door shut and they're trying to look like they don't exist is just fairy worrisome. These are bad debts and then she says basically look you there, want to continue pursuing this. That's fine, but the fact that these people are hiding the fact that this call center even again make them seem a lot more dangerous to me. It's up to you, but we are standing at the front door of the car fender we're not just going to walk away. So it's Niger calls the woman who had originally given her the address and a woman says. So if the front gate is closed, just go upstairs or some security guard they'll. Let you in
stick to use and we go up to the roof. It's dark up on the roof to the right There's the shack! to thy sitting under a light, just a couple of veto. The data is not here and then one of the guys at the top of the stairs shouts at these two other guys that are on our left that we had even see they are completely shrouded in darkness, One is the one that was close, so no one can open the door and looks like there's lights on in there and the guy calls back over. So the deeds, their shadows are what those guys say, but the sky responds he's like it's closed
so we go back downstairs, but we feel that our time in this building is limited. We have just alluded accosting security guards to the fact that we're trying to get into their company, but we want Kemal to know that we were there. So I put my phone. I stand in front of accosting door and I make a little videos and can I have the ox yeah so that that is that's the door! The great behind me is your wearing a hat and smirking. Before the very then there's like the there's, a little garland across the top, which looks at Christmas lights, it's it's actually mango leaves manga leaves are like a traditional hindu. Thing where you hang them above a door to ward off bad karma, evil, spirits, house, outside ordinance, basically, American by gasters. Ok, this is what I said
Mega mall is I went to the costs? to see if you were there, so we can hang out, but maybe next time I guess I'll, be in touch It's been fun hanging out as we held artisan, buy you a rude little scamp, just smirking what happened. So we go back down stairs. We meet up with Niggah at Starbucks again there and we haven't even sent come all this video and a low pay. What
and I got a call from Kemal interesting and I assume do is going to be like hey. Where are you guys? Let's meet it? What's it called bar yeah, what's goin on what can I do for you like you want to, but I do not want nothing. I thought I thought the calls enter was closed down. What you want, I thought the cause enter was closed down. You want to come, but I thought I thought the call centre was closed down. You lied to me this whole time. I like I want. Oh god, what do you want? What we mean when we now want to me here and now you guys know you guys know where I stand and you lie to me so why? Why should I meet? You know? You're, not gonna. Tell me the truth.
What you can see me where I was there hotel. Where I tell where I told him you were saying Korea, I said you know I gotta go to come to have Ellie whenever you want, but this sounds like a threatened Are you threatening me? Can you admit to me that you're a scammer, please What do I want? I know everything I want listen to me. I know about nay ha I know about this man, I know about street wise marketeer. I know about everything that has to do with your business. I know you're free Don't I know where you have to know about anyone. I know your front door, one I want to know who is the person who called me and tried to scare me and I figured it out and I don't
Let me come all, it was a cost, and I know it was a conscience. I want you to admit that you guys are scammers and that you steal money from people. Then I think that we don't have anything else to talk about. Are you there? how he never called me again, an hour later. The airport studies complete, I think so. I think I think it is. I think, we're all done
anything. Do you feel you guys got what you went? Therefore, you know it. This is it This is sort of the reversal that I wanted to feel. Is this. I think that everyone, I think, there's been a crazy uptake and fraudulent call in the. U S, yeah, it's not even something that really under discussion, and it feels like a gamble anytime. You pick up my number, you don't recognize it sucks. It's like a states like a feeling that feels like it s, no control, there's no control- and all I wanted was for once to express that too, like rivers that feeling
to make those people feel like. Oh, they don't know, ask how we're playing with a loaded gun. If we call people- and I happened to be the bullet in a very sweaty clumsy loves the delicious alien veered. I'm not going to say no to me in four days in a hotel and gives you the address and ultimate Send you a video itself, that's the way it kills. You
reply always hosted by PDA vote and we ask old man. The show was produced this week by shooting contaminating abandoned, damianus, Arkady and Austin Mitchell are added Two more editorial help this week from Jorge just protectionism. It's from Serena on assisting serenest last week. She has been amazing Trina. Thank you for everything we were mixed by requiring and Matthew Unmatchable special thanks to Willard Fox them that labour is a bonfire on a beach reply, all is available and Spotify so go trick us out there. You can also The show on Google play apple. Pod casts a listen and one more thing. Don't ever let anybody remotely connect your computer just cause. I did it doesn't mean it's a good idea.
We're gonna be running some of your favorite episodes over the month of August, but we'll be back in September days for listening, you'll be hearing from us very soon. I know we should get moving, but I'm having on getting more now get it. Like we can only you're one sounded a time on this planet. Mono is a funny joke you all right! Do you wanna play another? Do it? you like to yell all your worries into the cold void of space. While I played rummaging far given here ok dreaming,
were large and small scale farming, even if we go to my national prerogatives, congratulate democratically accountable, almost rather than throwing around anymore. If my different categories of workers not dropping water bottles yeah, I feel better This is a place to sleep. We can moreover, in the Goodnight Menu Fleetwood six hours good night.
Transcript generated on 2020-02-13.