I’m sure we are all familiar with the email phishing messages that say something like
“Dear Valued Customer, You account has been suspended, in order to reactivate your account, you are required to go to this website and enter all your details, and you must do so today, or your account will be permanently blocked and you will not be able to get at your money”
Hopefully, we all know enough not to click on a link like that – they are just phishing for information with which to defraud us.
A new twist to this just happened to me, and whilst I did spot that it was a fraud, it could well catch people out.
Yesterday afternoon my cell phone rang, and it looked like a local number because the caller id started 314. When I answered, an automated voice said that my (name of Bank) debit card had been blocked, and that if I wanted to unblock it I should press 2. I was immediately suspicious, because any calls from my bank have always been more personal than this totally impersonal message. But on the other hand, I’d just used my debit card for a fairly large transaction, and I know that this can sometimes trigger a security alert. So I pressed 2.
Another automated voice asked me to key in my 16 digit card number. The alarm bells that had been ringing softly before now went crazy. My Bank knows who I am. If this had been a real call from my Bank I’d probably have been put through to an agent, or at least given some automated questions to answer that would have confirmed my ID. But my card number? Followed, I assume, by the 3 digits on the back of the card and my Social Security number? And then followed by a lot of payments out of my account!
I hung up, and then looked at the number that had came up as the caller ID more closely. My screen said 31473638699. At first glance it looks like any other Missouri number, until you try to put it in standard format – 314-736-3869 9 – too many digits!!!
Just to be sure, I checked with my Bank, and as I suspected they knew nothing of any call or any block on the account.
No harm, no foul – but a salutary reminder to “be safe out there”.