Phone Scam

This was a scary one. Someone attempted to scam my wife last night.

It worked like this – She got a call purporting to be from the police, reporting that they thought her debit card has been cloned. They advised her to contact her bank.

She phoned the bank and was apparently put through to their call center.

In fact what happened was that the original caller never hung up. In most phone systems the caller opens and closes the connection.  So she was still connected to the con men.

I’m not sure if they played a dial tone down the line after my wife hung up, she didn’t check.

She dialed her banks number and the scam artist’s software converted the tone signals to the number and matches it to the bank, so that the impostor could respond appropriately.

In our case we were suspicious because we were at a temp address not associated with our bank account, and after asking the normal security questions the impostor wanted my wife to key in her whole pin code. A bank wont do this! (as it happens I was involved in writing the call center software for the bank we use.)

In speaking to the real bank representative later (on another phone) apparently this scam is becoming more common, and would complete with someone turning up at the door pretending to be a police man with a realistic warrant card to take the card as evidence…

So this is just an example of how this scam is attempted – the thing to look out for is having to call someone after a phone call – if the previous caller didn’t hang up – you are still connected to them.

Bottom line – you need to use a different phone to contact your bank in an event like this e.g. your mobile.


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