Many people are very trusting when they receive phone calls claiming to be from their bank, credit card company, or ISP. However, scam phone calls are becoming more and more common every day. From the IT Support phone calls about a computer virus, or a call from your local cable company that is providing a new customer deal that is too good to be true (but are secretly trying to steal your account credentials) we are all encountering these more and more often.
As a consumer, you need to protect yourself and challenge anyone calling you so they are forced to validate who they are before you give them any information.
This is the summarized transcript from a call I had just this morning with "a representative" claiming to be from American Express* but being unwilling to validate that they were actually calling from the credit card company.
Caller: Hello, This is [Female name I missed] from American Express, is this "My Name"?
C: I'm calling about an offer we sent you in the mail, did you get it?
M: What was the offer concerning?
C: If you could just validate some information I could explain the offer...
M: Sure - Can you please validate you're Amex first, then I'll validate who I am...
C: Sir, I need to validate who you are before we continue...
M: Before we continue I need you to validate you're actually Amex.
C: I don't understand what you're asking? I'm just calling to talk about an offer we sent you.
M: Great, tell me about this offer.
C: Sir, I just need to validate you're who you say you are.
M: Great, please validate that you are Amex first.
C: Sir, Please validate your DOB.
M: You called me, and I said hello and yes that's who you've reached. Please validate you're Amex.
Repeat the last 7 lines a few times and then I got tired of the conversation, said goodbye and hang up the phone.
As a consumer frequently targeted by Phone scams, it's time to start taking a stand against these phone calls and force companies to validate who they are before giving away you personal information. Companies will need to adapt to a smarter, more suspicious consumer that is looking to protect their identity.
* Maybe it actually was Amex, but they failed to validate this to me and the call ended.
CRTC Do Not Call List (Canada)
FTC Do Not Call List (United States)