The phone rings. Bad news. Your bank account’s been compromised and your debit card has been temporarily suspended. To reactivate your account, you’ll need to enter your card number and PIN number. As your fingers hover over the touch pad, you wonder, could someone be trying to scam me by telling me I’ve been scammed? Bingo!
If a con artist can’t get you to buy their story hook, line, and sinker, he’ll settle for confusing you enough to make a mistake. In other words, you may sense that there’s something less than kosher about the call, but you want to set things straight with the bank, and there’s something about that automated call, the woman’s voice, that sounded so real. Well, sure it did. That’s the whole point of deception.
Alternatively, you may get a call from your credit card company saying that there’s been some suspicious activity on your card and that they need you to confirm whether or not the charges are yours. Calls alerting you to security breaches on your account do sometimes come from legitimate sources, adding to the confusion. However, a real financial institution will not call and ask you for account numbers and other private information. If you receive a call of this nature, end the call without divulging any personal information. Then take your card out from your wallet and call the toll-free number on the back of the card. If it’s a legitimate call, they’ll be able to help you out from there.
In one case, police reported that an entire town of 20,000 in Connecticut received automated calls falsely purporting to be from a small local bank. The individuals were instructed to enter their card information, including PIN numbers and expiration dates.