It’s no longer totally safe to call the phone number on the back of your credit card. Fraudsters now have a way of intercepting your call. To be clear, you can’t trust the phone number written on the back of your credit or debit card. When you call your card company, be on guard for crooks. In a real-life case that serves as a cautionary tale, dialing the toll-free number on the back of the card connected to a man with an accent, which is normal.
Christmas was less than a week away and he read a script saying the bank was sending a $100 gift card to everyone calling in today, as a thank you to customers. It sounded too good to be true, but I called my bank and was connected with this friendly gentleman. He would transfer my call to someone that would answer my question, but first, he asked me to, “Please provide an address to send your $100 gift card and a card we can bill for the $2.99 shipping fee.” He asked me to repeat my name, address and card number and recorded it all meticulously, and then he said there was one other special offer for $29 a month, and… suddenly… this call seemed very strange, and I hung up. Could I have dialed the wrong number? No, my outgoing call log showed the bank number was dialed correctly.
What happened is a new type of consumer fraud. A bank’s phone number appears to be getting hacked. Because the bank is a victim in this case and its security team representatives did not know they would become the subject of this consumer alert video, we won’t mention the bank’s name, but it is one of the nation’s largest banks.. Reaching the authentic bank by phone required dialing the number on the back of the card several more times. The first attempt was answered and abruptly hung up on. On the next try, no one answered. After a couple more attempts, an authentic-sounding automated operator finally answered, connecting me with a bank security team representative, who confirmed that this was a new type of fraud. The bank immediately blocked the card from being used and overnighted a new one that arrived the next day.
We’re hoping that knowing crooks are now capable of intercepting your calls to the number on the back of your credit card will be enough to help you avoid falling victim to this sinister scam, but there are a couple of concrete steps you can take to protect yourself. Before the bank security team representative would answer any of my questions, my identity had to be validated using a one-time password sent to my cell phone that the bank had on record. If your bank insists on this type of two-factor authentication, it indicates they knew your cell phone number without asking your for it. If your bank security department does not use two-factor authentication before talking to you about your account, ask the bank representative to tell you the last place you used your debit or credit card or the amount of your last charge. If they cannot answer, hang up and find a different way to reach your bank.
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