I would definitely call myself a nervous nellie when it comes to scams. If something doesn’t seem right, I question it. That includes all telephone calls that I receive from people that I don’t know. I don’t usually agree to anything over the phone and I never give information out unless I am certain the call is for real. Sometimes I feel like a ‘b’ with an ‘itch’ but nowadays you never know.
On Tuesday, I received a call but I was unable to catch it before the answering machine picked up. It turns out it was someone claiming to be from my credit card company and he needed to talk to me. He gave a number to call him back.
First thing I did was look at the caller ID. It came back “Unknown.” Hmm…
There are some scams out there that hope to get you to call back. So I didn’t. Instead, I took my credit card out and called the number on the back. I have to say, I’ve been having great luck lately with very helpful customer service representatives.
I explained to the woman that I had received a call and was given a number. I also told her how I am hesitant to call the number and I would like to see if she knew what it was about. I thought maybe it was because of my call a few days before when I requested to be taken off their marketing list.
The representative didn’t see anything on my account about them trying to contact me. So she asked me for the number I was given and she and put me on hold. She was going to try to look it up really quick. After a few minutes, she came back on and told me she couldn’t find it right off bat, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a number from their company. She said that their directory is many pages long. I believe it.
I asked her if there was anything that I can do to try to ensure that when I call the number, I am dealing with the actual company. She gave me some pointers:
Always get the representative’s name and their department. Asking for this information can narrow things down if you still feel uncomfortable about the call and want to call the number on the back of your card again.
The representative should be able to answer your question about your current balance and due date. If you are wondering about the validity of the call, ask the representative to tell you your current balance and your due date. They are allowed to give out that info, and it should be correct. If not, a red flag should go up.
By law, the company cannot give you your personally identifiable information over the phone. This is why they always ask you to verify your name and address. They cannot give you that information. You have to provide it to them. That said, they should not be asking you to verify your social security number.
Calls from their company (and likely many other credit card companies) will come up on a caller ID as “Unknown.” The representative explained to me that their phone system is complicated and it doesn’t show a number on a caller ID.
If you are still concerned, call the number on the back of your card and give them the information you collected. They will look into it and possibly report the incident to their security department.
In my case, the call I received was valid. As soon as I asked what department, they told me that it was for new card application division. I had just applied for a card, so it made sense. To seal the deal, I asked them what card I applied for. They got it correct. Continuing with the call, they knew my credit limits for the other cards I had with that company so I knew I was scam-free with this call.
It took me a few more minutes to question the call, but I found out some good useful info that I was able to share with you 🙂
Very helpful info! Thanks Tricia!
Good way to handle it. Phishing by phone is getting a lot more common, it seems. I’m glad it wasn’t anything so dangerous. 🙂
Thanks for the great information! I’m always leery when my bank calls my home. Now I know what to ask them!
This is really good advice. I got my credit card and bank account details stolen by phishsers a few days ago and it has really made me think a lot more about security. I never give out details on the phone or click on email links but I neglected to keep my browser and virus protection up to date.
Glad you didn’t fall for it and lose any money.
Type the phone number into Google and you’ll quickly find out who it is. Plus, you can file a complaint. Try it and let us know what pops up. Thanks.
You can always look up the number using a Reverse Directory lookup, such as whitepages.com.
Anytime I get a number that I don’t recognize, I always do a reverse lookup to verify the number.
Good advice on calling the company itself.
Mark – in this case, the call came up Unknown. But I have used reverse lookup sites before to try to make sure certain callers are who they say they are.
When in doubt, say you’ll call them back. 🙂
I have a Citi Card, and I got a call from them earlier this year. I forget the specifics of the call (I think it might have been related to fraud prevention).
But anyway they asked me to verify something and I said, wait a minute, how do I know who you are? The operator was very polite and told me that she understands my concern, and if it would make me feel better I could call the number on the back of my card, and I would be automatically redirected to her department. I did. It was cool.
A few days ago, I had a voice mail waiting for me from Citi Card’s fraud department. All they left was an 877 number, some confirmation number, and that I should call them back by the following day. Not trusting the message, i looked up Citi’s fraud proteciton number on their website and the 800 number was different. I called the number on the website and they confirmed they were trying to get a hold of me to confirm some charges i made while traveling out of state the day prior.
I would never call a number provided over the phone, but rather look it up myself. Even if it means i have to be transfered several times to get to the correct department, I at least know it is safe.
Got a call like this from Capitol One’s fraud dept. It was legit, but I sent them a message asking them not to do that kind fo thing, it’d be all too easy for people to ignore legit fraud alerts cause they thought it was a scammer. What they should do is just ask you to call the number on your card, and then have an easy way to navigate to the fraud people from the menu. I.E. “if our fraud dept. asked you to call, press one.”
I like your list. I have one topic that I’ll make special mention of.
Please don’t believe the agent’s claim that their “phone system is complicated” as their excuse for not displaying a caller ID number on your telephone.
Over the past fifteen years, I have worked for much larger phone operations than these companies call centers, and my teams have set up many multi-line call systems across multiple locations in multiple countries.
If the company that hires me wants to me make a number public when their operators make outbound calls, I can do it. In some cases, it’s a little more hassle than in others–but by no means is it so “complicated” as to be undoable.
It is a deliberate decision by the credit card company to _not_ present a number to your caller ID display.
Many call centers choose to do this because they do not want to receive any inbound calls. They take this step largely to make it more difficult for you to contact them in the event you are dissatisfied with their service.
Excellent tips, you have done a great job. Absolutely, these was much needed tips for me. i have been called several times by my credit card employees for different activities. Now this post surely will help me to get rid from those employee who usually waste valuable time. Thanks again.
Good piece, great advice, vital information. Go with your gut instincts and take the necessary precautions. It can never hurt to take the steps needed to give you ultimate comfort.
Thats what I thought and you really helped me prove my point with this post. I cant wait to show my friend so he can see he was wrong. – Walter
Generally I do not post on blogs, but I have to mention that this post really forced me to do so!
Great Article. piece , I am thankful for the specifics ! Does someone know where I would be able to get a fillable a form version to edit ?