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snopes 06 February 2012 08:05 PM

Call center murder
Comment: I work in a call centre. A colleague here is well known for
refusing to give her surname out to both customers and suppliers. Today
she revealed it was because she had heard of someone did that once and
then received flowers at work. As he/she left the workplace carrying the
flowers, they were shot dead. The flowers had been sent by an angry
customer who used them to identify the employee so they can shoot them.

Swordmaster 06 February 2012 08:53 PM

I once worked for a call center, and was always told that - if asked - we were required to give both first and last name. We never called within our own region, though, and the nature of our calls was rather low on the offensive scale.

Ryda Wong, EBfCo. 06 February 2012 08:57 PM

I was a mortgage collector and was told to never release your last name. If you had a very unusual first name, you were encouraged to pick a nickname.

FullMetal 06 February 2012 10:50 PM

When I worked at a call centre (Help desk for a major computer manufacturer's home computer line) we were actually told we were required to give last name if pressed, and we all heard horror stories, I even had customers yell at me that they were going to find me and shoot me. Which considering the fact that I lived in a different country than the client I was confident that if they could find me, the worst they could do is stab me. When I was there, we did receive a bomb scare from a disgruntled customer (although I personally think it was a disgruntled employee). And they took it seriously, the police went through every desk, every room, etc. The call centre was down for an hour.

I can see collections not releasing names, I suppose it really depends on whether it's an inbound or outbound call centre.

Alarm 07 February 2012 12:19 PM

I've worked in a call center for corporate collections and government collections.

At the corporation, we were told we could use nick names, as our job was mostly to get good customers to feel shame and pay their bills and get bad customers so incensed that they demand to close their account, opening the way to starting legal action on them. This is not how the company described out jobs, but after dealing with it on a day to day basis, you quickly realize that's what you're actually doing.

As a government employee, your name is no longer private information and neither is your position. Anyone can make an Access to Information request and obtain that. If someone makes a threat, though, you inform your supervisor and the RCMP is called and if the threat is even remotely credible, that person gets a visit, no matter where in Canada they live.

I once got told not to go hunting in a certain part of the country...
I think that might have been a threat!?! :lol:

Jay Temple 07 February 2012 05:55 PM


Originally Posted by Alarm (Post 1590185)
If someone makes a threat, though, you inform your supervisor and the RCMP is called and if the threat is even remotely credible, that person gets a visit, no matter where in Canada they live.

Somehow invoking the RCMP makes it sound like they've really got your back, compared to the nearest U.S. equivalent. (FBI?)

annabohly 07 February 2012 06:24 PM

I work in a call center and we do not use our real name. We pick out an ailas when we are hired and use that. Certain reps have recieved threats. We had to call the cops twice on customers.

Buckle Up 07 February 2012 06:31 PM

We used real names at Verizon - we weren't told we had to; we just did. But the call center property has some pretty decent security - high fences, 24-hour guards, security cards with double doors, etc. I suppose a motivated disgruntled customer could have gotten some binoculars and shot me through the fence, but AFAIK no one ever did.

I never got threatened but in a short time on the phones, I did get proposed to, twice.

DemonWolf 20 February 2012 03:43 PM

I would prefer to use an alias or at least an operator number.

MisterGrey 21 February 2012 11:53 PM

When I worked in a call center we were only required to give out our surnames to employees of the companies we insured; most of the incoming calls were from technicians reporting damage for us to forward on to a claims investigator. On the occasions that a call for collections ended up with us, we were not required to give out our surnames and were encouraged to get the person's information to forward on to the appropriate people, as opposed to giving out any information. Often we were dealing with people whose reckless behavior had led to them accumulating several thousand dollars worth of bills (in many cases, the damage was due to reckless discharge of a firearm, especially in rural areas around the holidays), so things were handled cautiously.

Latiam 22 February 2012 01:19 AM

Minor hijack, but as an executive in Environment Canada my dad got death threats fairly often, strangely enough. I guess the RCMP handled them. I once asked him if he was worried and he said no. "I hate you and I know where you live and I'm going to come down to Burlington and kill you," was the general gist of most of them.
My dad worked in Burlington, but he did not live there.

annabohly 22 February 2012 03:48 PM

OTOH, I have often looked up an address on google maps, wantig to kick some customers butt who pissed me off. I would never actually do that, but it felt good to know where they lived.

Latiam 23 February 2012 02:36 AM

He got them at work (how stupid can you get?) and has a common last name.

Phantomdaae1981 02 March 2012 03:37 PM

I worked at a call center for a short time, and one of the training supervisors told us not to give out our last names. He told a story much like the OP as justification.

TrishDaDish 03 June 2012 08:41 PM


Originally Posted by Ryda Wong, EBfCo. (Post 1590047)
I was a mortgage collector and was told to never release your last name.

I read that as "morgue collector".

Auburn Red 03 June 2012 10:19 PM


Originally Posted by snopes (Post 1590001)
\. As he/she left the workplace carrying the
flowers, they were shot dead.


I'm a little confused, who was they? the co-worker that gave the last name, I get but who was the other person who was shot dead? The shooter? It can't be the colleague telling the story since they couldn't have lived to tell the tale or I guess it's just a misplaced pronoun.

Anyway, it seems like good common sense not to give your last name that places like that because the calls are often so emotionally charged in even the best of circumstances. The people who get frustrated and angry with these calls (both incoming and outgoing) that they forget that there's another person on the other end of the line who is simply doing their job. I worked at a call center for about two weeks (I wasn't fired I had moved and would have been unable to continue working) and seeing it from the other side, even to this day I am super polite to telemarketers, representatives, etc. even when I'm annoyed.

Lainie 03 June 2012 10:23 PM

I thought the "writer" was just being inconsistent in pronoun usage -- "he/she" at the beginning of the sentence, "they" later. But the way it's written, it sounds like the flowers were shot dead.

And count me as another who had a phone-based job where we weren't supposed to give our last names.

Auburn Red 03 June 2012 10:25 PM

Me too. :lol:

I guess that makes sense it was just the person who gave out their last name and since the narrator didn't want to say whether the protagonist was a man or a woman, used "they" instead.

Nick Theodorakis 03 June 2012 11:03 PM

I work in a call center, but the environment is a little different as we sell scientific instruments and supplies to the biotech and research community, so we don't have any prohibition about using our names. In fact, our email address are firstname.lastname at company dot com, so that would be a givaway anyway. Many of our customers are repeat callers who often know us by name.

A little while ago one of our big customers was at a local conference and he made a point of stopping by just to say hi to me, which was nice.


Hero_Mike 04 June 2012 02:57 PM

I never liked the notion that people at call centres don't identify themselves correctly. The problem being that if you call to complain that "Todd" called you up and was rude to you, the call centre would just say that there is no "Todd" working for them - which is 100% true, because "Todd" is really Tim or Fred (or if they are from India, Sanjay).

When dealing with someone like my cell phone provider, they give a first name and employee number. I always wonder, as well, what percentage of calls are monitored, but I certainly hope it's a lot of them.

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