The rumor that the first words spoken on the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell were “Watson, come here, I want to see you, and, oh, yes, what is your credit card number” turns out not to be true, although it probably didn’t take long for the telephone to become a tool of choice for scammers and identity thieves. The latest telephone scam that is popping up around the country begins when you receive a recorded call that purports to be from your bank informing you that your credit card or debit card been frozen. In order to unlock your account, you are instructed to press “1” on your phone to unlock your account. Once you press “1” you are instructed to enter your credit or debit card number. If you do this, you will have succeeded in turning over your credit card or debit card to an identity thief. Making this scam even more insidious is that in some instances, if you have Caller ID, it will indicate that the call is from your bank. However, this automated call is never from your bank, it only appears to be so due to a technique called “spoofing.”
It is easy to know when you receive a recorded call from your bank regarding your credit card or debit card if it is legitimate. If you receive such a call, it is a scam because no bank will contact you in this fashion. In addition, you should never provide your personal information over the phone to anyone whom you have not independently contacted in order to be sure that you are not providing that information to a scam artist or identity thief. If you receive such a call and have any concern that it might be legitimate, merely call your bank at a number that you know is accurate to confirm that the call was a scam.