At the same time, in messengers and social networks, including TikTok and Instagram (the social network is banned in the Russian Federation; it belongs to the Meta corporation, which is recognized as extremist in Russia and banned), you can easily find vacancies from Ukrainian call centers that need new employees.
In Ukrainian Telegram channels with vacancies, almost every third (and every second in Dnipro) offer is somehow related to work in a call center. At the same time, in most of the descriptions they do not even hide the essence of future work, openly declaring: “We are helping the Armed Forces of Ukraine by destroying the Russian economy.”
However, the authors of the ads promise: after a month of work in the call center, the salary will increase to 1.5 thousand dollars (146.1 thousand rubles). For comparison: following one of these offers, a vacancy for a pharmacist with a higher education in a pharmacy is posted – he is offered 17 thousand hryvnias (460 dollars / 44.8 thousand rubles) per month.
At the same time, in 2022, the average monthly salary of Ukrainians amounted to 14,847 hryvnias (402 dollars / 39.2 thousand rubles). Call centers offer to receive many times more than this amount for everyone, including minors – they are ready to take even 16-year-old teenagers to work there. Of course, if one important condition is met.
Competent Russian speech and the ability to win over people are required
from the job description of the call center of telephone scammers
The Lenta.ru correspondent decided to respond to several of these ads in order to find out what really lies behind them. The legend was this: Alexandra, 25 years old. She recently moved from Russia to Kazakhstan and now barely makes ends meet in search of a profitable job – that’s what call centers promise.
According to the local ad service, the price for a monthly rental of such housing reaches 12 thousand hryvnia (31.7 thousand rubles). The call center is ready to take over both the payment of rent and the move to rented housing – however, a little later it turned out that the apartment was provided only for the first time, and it would have to be shared with several newcomers.
We compensate everything, but only upon arrival. We are often deceived. This is a strict policy. Don’t worry about the neighborhood: we are loyal, there will be conflicts – we will help to resolve them. But I will tell you this: in a month, with perseverance and desire, you will be able to rent a separate apartment. Well, we will help with food
call center manager in Dnipro
There was also a games room in the call center: there you could play darts or a console, make yourself a coffee. They showed me how everything works and was invited to a group training that went on for several days. We were immediately told to work only in Russian, we were warned that it was dangerous and bad to work in our own.
This hooked me: I understood that in the conditions of the conflict for the Russian scam, nothing would happen to me. We learned the theory of the “bank” (deception under the guise of bank employees), played Alias (a board game) to loosen up and learn how to choose words, then they sat us next to the guys who have been working for a long time, and plugged in headphones – you just had to listen, what they’re saying.
After they hung up, you could ask questions
So one day we listened, and the next we went to work. The main rule in the team was – do not “shock”. This is the easiest way to sleep.
I worked as an operator, called Zoiper – a special program on the computer – and spoke the prepared text according to the script. In case a person asked some questions or just tried to check if we were scammers, we had special buttons with popular questions. We just clicked on them – and voiced the written text.
Before the start of the Russian special operation in Ukraine, there were more than a thousand call centers in Dnipro. On the day they made from three to ten thousand calls and monthly stole from the accounts of Russian citizens from 3.5 to 5 billion rubles.
“Now there are fewer call centers,” Life’s interlocutor continues. – On average, they employ from 10 to 30 people, but there are still firms with a hundred or more callers. In addition to Russians, we spud Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russian-speaking residents of Europe, there are a lot of them in Germany. The schemes used are standard, you probably know all of them, because we have probably called the whole of Russia, and more than once …
The competition, according to the call center employees themselves, is still huge, however, there are still enough gullible people for everyone. How recently confessed head of the Central Bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullinathe turning point in the fight against telephone fraud has not happened, which means that calls will continue to come to the Russians.
For example, the cost of connecting to a virtual number service is just over $50 and about $10 monthly subscription service. If you need physical SIM cards, that’s not a problem either, the issue is resolved for about $20 depending on the country whose cards are required.
For only 15 dollars you can get the opportunity to change the number on one tube 20 times a day for six months. For 25 bucks, you can already endlessly change numbers throughout the year and at the same time talk to the victim in different voices: the service offers six different timbres to choose from – both male and female.
Fraudsters usually buy bases of potential victims on the Darknet (the so-called shadow, officially unregulated segment of the Internet, which is chosen by international criminals for their operations). Their cost starts from several thousand rubles and reaches tens of millions – it all depends on the quantity, quality and, most importantly, the relevance of the information.
The cheapest are the customer bases of free ad sites. From them you can find out the name of a person, his phone number, e-mail, and by what he sells, indirectly understand the financial situation. You need to work with such a resource additionally: independently look for the date of birth, TIN, residence permit and other data necessary for criminals.
The most expensive are bank documents, which, among other personal data, will contain accounts, amounts of debt obligations, mortgaged real estate and cars. To acquire such bases for a scammer is a great success, they greatly save time on cold calls and, in general, reduce the cost of the process of illegal profit.
Despite the fact that the Ukrainian press regularly publish stories about raids by Ukrainian police on such fraudulent offices, there is no information about the further fate of their owners – criminal cases, court sentences, received terms – in the local media. And recently, Ukrainians were outraged that one of the illegal call centers in Kyiv worked right next to the SBU Department. Apparently, it is the Ukrainian special services that protect the scammers.
Life’s interlocutor said that callers practically do not have problems with the law. Office owners always know in advance when there will be a raid, and by this time documents, computers and all related peripherals are taken out of the office, and employees have an extra day off. In the worst cases, after such visits, crooks change offices. Sometimes it comes to the ridiculous: they move to the next empty room in the same building.
“Even if the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs manage to catch the workers on the spot,” a former call center employee tells Life, “the maximum that awaits them is spent nerves and a few days in the cops. And the owners in my memory never came across at all.