He's right about the "agent on the phone". You can play the "con" game or you can be more "empathetic". Common sense also tells you customer service reps deal with a lot of angry, mean people and when they finally come across someone who's calm and descent, you can get places. A little small talk, even a joke (and hearing laughter) will go very far. The sex of the rep is important too, I much prefer female; and I know I'm getting somewhere when I here "Here you go darling." Social engineering is easy, having the patience is hard. Knowing what to do is much easier than actually doing it; kind of like healthy diets and exercise. Once someone knows you've done it in the past, then don't waste your time trying on that person.
As for "Derek", his life is done for now, highschool drop-out, bomb threats being linked to him, now looking at jail time, and he incriminated himself. I personally can't defend him for his part in releasing 500k cc numbers, that's immoral. Plus, all that notoriety he wanted will come to roost; he just wants attention like everyone else! Once he gets out, and can only get s%it jobs, expect more hacks; those 4 walls in his cell will give him plenty of time to read (if he's allowed) and hopefully he retains his humanity. His only hope is to go to court looking pitiful and say "I wanted these weaknesses exposed and covered, that's why I did this." but a prosecutor will be quick to point out his manipulative nature, and the fact that their group has the word "nazi" in it, with all its warm connotations, will be used as well.
This is the future, any curiosity or creativity will be smashed, practitioners will be denigrated and made to look like freaks; thus brilliant connections won't be made by those with the ability. You have to look, act, think in "acceptable" ways. People say the human spirit can't be crushed, bs; have a peek at the world today.