My thanks to the man in the Midwest.
Posted by Big John on August 13, 2008
One day last week I received a rather strange sounding recorded telephone message purporting to be from my bank, and asking me to ring a number about security.
Now my bank is always warning their customers about scam calls and e mails, so I telephoned their help line saying that I was a little suspicious about this call. They checked it out by calling the number and advised me that it was probably a scam as the person they had spoken to was unable to answer certain ‘key questions’. They advised me that they would investigate further. I have heard no more !
On Saturday I received a ‘phone call from a man with an American accent saying that he wanted to speak to me about a “financial security matter”. I was a bit abrupt with him, as I thought it was another one of those bloody sales calls trying to sell me some insurance or other, or perhaps even another scam.
To my great surprise he quoted the last four digits of a credit card which I sometimes use and asked me if I had used it to purchase around £600 (approx. $1,200) of items using the ‘Paypal’ payment system. It seems that the call came all the way from Omaha, Nebraska. I said that I had not and thanked him for alerting me before immediately cancelling the card and advising the bank’s fraud department … “Oh !” they said .. “We tried to contact you last week”.
Two days ago I received an e mail again purporting to be from my bank and advising me that my on line account … “might have been accessed by an unauthorized third party”. I immediately changed my password etc. and sent an e mail to the bank’s special ‘scam’ department asking them if this e mail was genuine. As yet I have not received a reply.
In the meantime my credit card account is showing £1,300 (approx. $2,500) of payments which I know nothing about, and for which I was advised I was not liable.
Now, I’m sure that this matter will eventually be cleared up, but I have to say that I am surprised that someone based in the middle of the USA was so quick to contact me in person, when my own bank, here in the UK, relied on a suspicious ‘computer generated’ voice message to alert me which their own employees seem to know nothing about.
To get to speak to a human being at my bank takes forever via their automated telephone system, and when you do eventually reach their call centre, little Miss “How May I Help You” is usually no bloody help at all, and leaves you wondering just how safe your money really is ?
Perhaps my dad had the right idea. He kept what little money he had …
… in a tin box under his bed. 😕