Identity Theft Scam or Innocent Marketing Call? Help Me Decide.

by Kevin on April 6, 2008

For the past few weeks I have been getting a call on my cellphone from an “Unavailable” number. I decided to ignore it. If the call was important, they would leave a message.

Well after a few weeks of being called once or twice per day, I started to get annoyed. I picked up, and the lady on the other end asked for me by name. I was instantly suspicious as she did not identify herself (e.g. “Hi, this is Lisa from Company X, is this Kevin?”). In response, I simply asked who was calling. She said her first name, and nothing else. She then persistently asked if this was Kevin.

I said, you’ve got the wrong number. Her response was, “Are you sure, this is in regards to your Visa card.” I once again said you’ve got the wrong number, and hung up.

Since she knew my first and last name and was referencing me having a Visa card I became worried about identity theft. On my way home from work I called the number on the back of both of our Visa accounts to report the issue.

When I spoke with Chase, the representative was very friendly and helpful. He said there was an identify theft scam going around where the thieves try to get you to verify your information over the phone. He said the scam revolved around getting your interest rate lower. The rep said there was also a possibility it was a third-party marketing firm they were using, but without further information it would be impossible to tell.

I thanked him for his time, and called an old Visa card that we still have open. The automated line said there was a $0.00 balance, so I didn’t go further to speak with a representative. I haven’t seen any suspicious charges on either card. I’m hoping this is the last I’ll hear of it.

Don’t forget: never give out your information over the phone when someone from a company you are using calls you. Always verify their ID badge number, their department, and direct line. Then call the corporate number (on the back of credit cards, or look at the company web page to get the customer service line).

What do you think? Does this sound like identity theft or a bad third-party call center?

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April 9, 2008 at 5:08 am

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Mom @ Wide Open Wallet April 6, 2008 at 10:01 am

A few years ago someone called my mother in law at like two in the morning and asked for her pin number and she gave it to them! I couldn’t believe it.

Never give any info to someone if they called you, only if you called them.

Future Millionaire April 6, 2008 at 8:39 pm

Sounds like Identity Theft Scam to me — even a bad call center would have rules about having to identify themselves. Good for you for not giving out any info and calling VISA!

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