Phone calls from credit card fraud departments

Posted by Barry Stamp in Identity Theft on 29 June 2015 - Barry is Managing Director at checkmyfile

The number of nuisance PPI calls, together with the publicity surrounding identity fraudsters phoning and purporting to be your bank, have made it doubly difficult for credit card fraud departments to contact customers when a transaction is suspected of being fraudulent.

Most consumers will put their guard up immediately when phoned out of the blue and being asked to identify themselves by giving dates of birth or mother’s maiden name. We are all warned not to give any personal information away, so many genuine calls are met with an abrupt hang up, or with a suitable expletive.

One of the answers is to ask the caller to give you genuine information about your account, which they should have to hand. For example, you could simply ask for the numbers only from your postcode – B47 3QS would simply be 473 – and the last three numbers of your account. This shouldn’t be difficult, it does not contravene any data protection law, and would help verify the caller’s veracity.

Unfortunately, many credit card fraud departments will not respond to this level of checking, despite the nature of their work and the urgency of the call. Instead, a letter is sent to the cardholder’s address which asks the consumer to call, wasting time, and resource.

Even if you are asked by the caller to ring back on the number on the back of your card, you need to be careful, as one type of fraud call does not hang up, and when you ‘call’ the ringing sounds are all played back from recordings and appear as normal. The call is then answered by your bank – though in reality you are still connected to the fraudster. The dead giveaway here is that you get right through of course. None of the usual 10 minute button pressing and music nonsense.

If you get a call like this, listen, then hang up, then call a number you know (such as a work number). If it answers with a bank name it’s fraud. If it answers as you expect, make suitable excuses and hang up again; then dial the number on the back of your credit card statement for general enquiries.

You really can’t be too careful these days.

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