It was early in the morning and i had just woken up when my home phone rang. The gentleman on the other end called me by name and asked if i had made a transaction for $300. 00 on my credit card at four o’clock that morning.
He named the credit card that i use for my business and when i denied that i had purchased anything, he informed me that i had been scammed. He then asked if anyone else had access to my credit card which they hadn’t and requested that i cheque my purse to make sure that i had the card in my possession which i did. Next he informed me that they would have to replace both my credit card and debit card so he would connect me with the security department of my banking institution.
At the same time, however, i thought that something about the call didn’t seem right. So i asked the fellow how i would know that he could be trusted. Now i knew there was something amiss so i used my cellphone to call my son in saskatoon as he is a computer expert.
My son told me to tell the fellow that i would go into the credit union and deal with the issue directly at which point the caller became more persistent. I thanked him and hung up. Fortunately, my accounts were safe but it was close! afterwards i contacted the credit union manager as well as the credit card company who indicated that these types of scams are prevalent, especially in the christmas season.
I don’t know how the caller knew my name as well as the organization that had issued the credit card but the fact that i had just awoken likely made me more vulnerable than if i had received the call later in the day. Now that i have had time to think about it, i realize that there wasn’t just one thing that caused me to doubt the authenticity of the caller but a number of small things that just didn’t add up:
1. Banks and credit card companies do not usually call or email you when there is a problem.
2. After i answered the call, there was a delay before the caller talked. This occurs when a roto calling device is used which wouldn’t be the case if you were being contacted by your bank.
3. My credit union is provincial and not american. 4.
The sense of urgency used by the caller alerted me to the fact that he was trying to have me take action whereas the bank normally would act to stop scammers. 5. Clicking on a ‘download’ button allows another person access to your computer.
Never do this. 6. Any problems with your bank can easily be dealt with through the staff that you know and trust at your branch.
7. Contacting my son confirmed that i was on the right track by not cooperating with the caller. There is an old saying that “desperate people do desperate things” and we are living in a time when a lot of people are desperate.
Just because you are honest doesn’t mean that others are honest so be cautious and trust your instincts.