Personal Finance 

Be Wary of Unsolicited Phone Calls

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Telephone PhishingRecently I’ve been getting a lot of strange unsolicited phone calls from 800 numbers claiming to be my cell phone company or my bank or my credit card. In many cases, the calls are legitimate. If it’s a credit card company, they’re confirming some card activity and offering all the sensitive information. However, I’ve also been getting some suspicious ones at all. This last week, I had a phone call from someone who worked for a timeshare. I wasn’t interested in flying down for a three day, two night getaway in Florida and when I asked where they got my name, I got the “oh reception is breaking up *click*” That really put me on edge.

Then, a few days later, I received another phone call from someone telling me I was eligible for a promotion related to my “credit card that ended in…” and then rattled off four numbers (that matched a credit card I actively used). Again, when I asked them for their company name or how they found me, I god the “reception is breaking up *click*” treatment.

Lesson of the Day

If a company calls you out of the blue, be on your toes. Phishing isn’t limited to email, people lose sensitive information all the time because of phone calls like the ones I’ve been receiving. If a company calls you and you’re on the National Do Not Call Registry, get their information and file a complaint.

Whatever you do, don’t give up any information. If it’s really important, you can call them back at a published corporate phone number. Have them annotate your record.


Lastly, if you’re curious, do a search of the number. When I searched for 877-671-1851, I discovered, through 800Notes, that it was Sprint trying to sell me a promotion (which matched what the CSR was trying to do). While you can’t trust everything you see online (anyone can put up a website that says their phone number is legimate), it can give you a good idea.

(Photo by _М и р К о__)

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3 Responses to “Be Wary of Unsolicited Phone Calls”

  1. Glenn Lasher says:

    I recently received a call from a cardboard box giveaway (how’s that for tying the stories together?) The folks in question did, indeed, want me to listen to a pitch for a timeshare, and all they needed was my credit card number (/me rolls eyes). After much discussion with them, and them trying all kinds of interesting ways to prove their identity (one was that they offered to send me an email while I waited, to which I asked if they knew how easy it was to get a domain, and told them that I knew), it was concluded that there was no way that we were going to move forward.

    It’s just as well. I really didn’t want to hear a timeshare pitch, regardless of what I might get in return.

  2. mjukr says:

    A lot of these calls come from companies that received your name by buying it as part of a list of contacts from a partner company. I once made the mistake of buying some stupid “as seen on TV” item and received many of these “your card number ending in XXXX” for a long time. Annoying, but not necessarily identity theft attempts.

    Hang up and monitor your credit report!

  3. Lord says:

    How do you get their information when they refuse to give it up? Pretend you are interested but need to call them back?

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