Maria and the Credit Card Con Artist

Hand holding credit cards Maria has a story about a scammer who tried to con her over the phone into giving away her credit card number:

At around 9:20 am the phone rang. It was “Tim from the front desk” saying that there had been a problem with my credit card and they hadn’t been able to authorize it for the previous night. I said it was OK, that I had another credit card and I would go downstairs to take care of it. He insisted that he had to do it “before 11” so why didn’t I just give him my credit card number on the phone. Now THAT was suspicious. You shouldn’t be giving your credit card number to people who call you on the phone. I said I would call them back. I called front desk and, of course, there hadn’t been any problem with my credit card, my room had been pre-paid at booking time.

The email variant of this trick is called “phishing”. Whether it’s by phone, email or any other means, it all boils down to the same thing: someone trying to get your credit card number so that they can take your money. Be alert!

2 replies on “Maria and the Credit Card Con Artist”

In a related vein, a family member had her identity stolen while she was away on vacation. A “good friend” was looking after her house (feeding pets, watering plants) while she was gone, but this “good friend” took it upon herself to rifle through the apparently unlocked filing cabinet and collect the family member’s social insurance number from tax records. Using that information the “friend” was able to apply for and receive a load of credit cards.

Incidentally, if you are the victim of identity fraud in this manner, your SIN number does not change. Meaning that the fraudster, if they have a good memory, could go and do the same thing again using the same information once the justice system releases them. The only safeguard against it is your vigilance in regularly checking your credit history. Of course creditors will flag you as a risk afterwards and you will have to jump through some extra hoops to secure large-scale financing like a mortgage.

I understand the “good friend” had something like two or three months behind bars and this was her fifth or sixth fraud conviction.

So lock your filing cabinets and such when you go away, even if a trusted pal is looking after cats / plants / etc. And check your credit history at least once a year for anomalies.

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