florspace via flickr.com
An ongoing credit card phone scam managed to nearly dupe a smart local friend of mine, so I thought I would share the story.
It started with a phone call on his land line, where someone purporting to be from a retailer asked my friend if he authorized a relative’s use of his credit card to purchase something.
He said he hadn’t, and the seemingly helpful caller then urged him to call the number on the back of his credit card to report the fraud.
So he did as he was told, hung up his phone and then immediately looked up the number on the back of his credit card and dialed.
What struck him as odd was that the person who answered had a similar British accent to the merchant he’d just spoken to.
But he brushed that off as a coincidence.
Later, he also wondered why he didn’t have to follow a series of telephone prompts to get through to the right department.
But at the time, he thought he was legitimately talking to an agent from the credit card company.
After all, how would they be able to intercept his call…
As he continued through the process, he was suddenly asked to dial his PIN number.
That’s when it dawned on him.
And he quickly hung up.
When he shared this story with a mutual friend, they both wondered how these fraudsters were able to intercept his call.
The trick was that the person who called them didn’t hang up at all when my friend did. Which meant the land line connection wasn’t severed.
As the Vancouver Police Department explained last month, local senior citizens were defrauded out of $3.1 million. Police helped them recover $2.5 million of the stolen money.
The fraudster play a recorded dial tone, to make it seem like the phone had been disconnected.
While police know of five cases, there could be more.
Call Vancouver Police at 604-717-0503 if you’ve been targeted.