Last week I received a Robocall on my cellphone. This is a bit disconcerting, since I only give my cell number to those whom I want to have it. The screen said, though, that the call was coming from Barclay Credit Fraud. Since I have a Barclay credit card, I answered the call.
A Robovoice informed me that possible fraudulent activity had been detected on my card, and asked me to please enter my card number on the keypad. If I needed more time to locate my card, I should press 1. This should have been red flag #1.
In typical Jane fashion, I needed A LOT more time to locate my card, and wound up pressing 1 three times. (This will come as no surprise to those who know me and have seen my desk, my car, my closets, etc. They will immediately understand why I couldn’t locate a card in my purse.) After the third “press 1″ Robovoice suggested that we complete the process at a later time and disconnected the call. This should have been red flag #2. A legitimate bank card caller would have waited indefinitely. A scammer doesn’t want the number traced.
When I finally located the card, instead of calling the number on the back, I hit the number in my “recent calls” list, never noticing that it wasn’t listed as “Barclay Credit Fraud”. It was just a number. This should have been red flag #3.
I reconnected with Robovoice, and entered my card number, as directed. (Stupid, STUPID Jane!) After a brief pause Robovoice said, “We’re sorry. That is not a valid MasterCard number.” Well of course not…it’s a Visa card. Red flag #4, and it’s finally starting to sink in.
There was no option for speaking with a real human being. Red flag #5. Uh oh.
FINALLY, I called the number on the back of my credit card. I spoke with a real human being, who, after doing some brief research, told me that Barclay Card had not, in fact, called me. She canceled my card and issued a new one.
Now I’m concerned that the scammer wasn’t after credit card information at all, but has somehow accessed control of my phone. I guess I’d better give the Genius Bar a call, but in the meantime, I’ve deleted all apps from my phone by which I could access PayPal or bank accounts, and have not synched my phone, since I’m afraid that might give access to my computer and iPad. (Not synching my phone is no biggie, for the same reason I couldn’t find my credit card in my purse. I’m just not a methodical or organized person, and don’t often take the time to do it anyway.)
So, why did this work on me? I’m normally a cautious person, and , believe it or not, fairly savvy about scammers and hackers. But they’re always trying something new, and in this case the fact that it was a Robocall that seemed to come from a company with whom I do indeed have an account threw me. After all, who would go to the time, trouble and expense to set up a phone line and computer caller? (By the way, I called the number again within 5 minutes and it had been disconnected. Lord, help me). And how did they know that I had a Barclay card, and if they knew that much, why didn’t they have the rest of my information?
Anyway….after a little research online, here are a few tips I found:
* Scammers are indeed using Robocalls to get personal information. Under no circumstances should you enter ANY personal information, including credit card numbers or your social security number from your keypad.
* There are virtually no legitimate Robocalls regarding sales or credit cards. None. (My favorite is the one that says “Please hold for an important message”. Are you kidding me? YOU call ME and put me on hold?! I don’t think so).
*If you receive a Robocall, just hang up. If you press anything you’ll probably get more calls. Great.
*Other Robocall scams:
You’re being served with a lawsuit.
You get an offer to lower your credit card APR.
Public safety/ home security calls.
Medical alert device scams.
Your bank account has been frozen.
Fake calls from ATT and Verizon.
The scams are constantly changing in an effort to get your personal information. You’re probably a lot smarter about this than I have been, but just in case, here’s the warning on the latest scam. What a world.