Reply All: #103 Long Distance, Part II
August 3, 2017 5:04 AM - Subscribe

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

Part I, on FanFare

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.
posted by noneuclidean (14 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What a conclusion. Of course we know from the get go that everything is okay since they're talking to PJ, but that didn't lessen any of the suspense. I had a sneaking suspicion that Kumal's story about going back home was also a scam; the timing just Alex's calls and him just deciding to head home was too perfect. It would have been nice if they could have talked to some ex-employees, but what went down I'm not surprised they didn't/couldn't.

Alex, since you're probably reading this, great job on this story.
posted by noneuclidean at 5:14 AM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

That's pretty amazing. And I guess Kamal doesn't have such a relaxed online life at the moment. His Facebook profile seems to be deleted. (And if I'm not mistaken, this should be the call center building.)
posted by dominik at 7:28 AM on August 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Alex Goldman on PBS News Hour interviewed about the episodes.

(Can I just say Alex looks nothing like I expected?)
posted by dnash at 7:51 AM on August 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Snigdha Poonam is rad. Her story in the Hindustan Times really pokes this existential thing for me: what is work? How is a scam call center different from a "legitimate" call center? What are we all doing with our lives?!! I know that's not what the story asks, but it's what I thought about when I read it. Ay.
posted by latkes at 3:25 PM on August 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Reddit AMA
posted by General Malaise at 6:02 AM on August 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh, meant to add, from the AMA: " Also, they changed the registration on one of their websites to my name and phone number. Sick troll, accostings."
posted by General Malaise at 6:03 AM on August 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

Also: wth was that at the end after the credits?
posted by General Malaise at 6:16 AM on August 4, 2017

General Malaise - it's the ongoing adventures of The Mysterious Break Master Cylinder! They've had these little snippets at the end of every episode since... Maybe six months ago? Or more? They're a total treat.
posted by harujion at 6:51 AM on August 4, 2017

Oh, thanks, harujion. I had no idea. It was cool, but super weird with no context. Guess I have to keep listening past the credits now.
posted by General Malaise at 7:06 AM on August 4, 2017

RIP Chug-It. Long live Headphones.

This was a great episode.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:46 AM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

The PBS Newshour interview and the AMA are really showing what an unsung hero Tim Howard is!
posted by radioamy at 12:24 PM on August 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

This was great fun, and I'm glad to have heard it.

But, I wish they'd spent ten minutes interviewing Snigdha Poonam in order to answer their questions about the Indian phone-fraud industry. Traveling half way around the world and meeting up with the foremost expert on the thing you're investigating. . . and then just using them to play fake interview candidate before walking away without talking to them is a really bizarre choice.

I'd love to hear a dedicated Snigdha Poonam episode. She sounds awesome.
posted by eotvos at 12:46 PM on August 4, 2017 [14 favorites]

I'm just going to call every bar I go to "Chug It" from now on.
posted by chrchr at 12:25 PM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

"So what you're describing is, your plan was to... interview him, in the manner of a journalist." So good.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:53 PM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

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