Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #230 12/11/2013

Question: What is phone phishing?


Phone phishing (pronounced fishing) is when phone calls are made wanting information from you that then allow them to get in your accounts. These had largely disappeared in recent years for email phishing.

Currently there are phone phishing calls being made that are seeking people’s credit card or debit card numbers. The call will come in and may well show some strange number that cannot be a phone number on your caller id. I got one on Friday night from 81796154. When you answer it you get a recorded message that says your credit card or debit card has either been locked or stolen. It then asks you to press one to talk to security at your bank. It follows I assume asking for your account number.

These calls may be about your credit or debit card, free medical alert packages, medical supplies or other items claiming needing your card number to deliver that you did not order.

I received my call after 11 pm, which I think may be intentional in that it might wake us up and that our defenses may be low and that we may supply information with out thinking. My call was that my debit card had been stolen. That struck me as unusual in that my cards are all in my wallet which was in my back pocket and I was sitting by myself at home. I hung up and sent an email to the bank. The bank called me in the morning and said they had received hundreds of calls/messages that night.

If you get one of these calls, hang-up and do not give them any information. Remember your bank knows your account number and would not call and ask you for it or your password (or any other Internet company). If your credit/debit card is really stolen contact your bank by phone and message/email ASAP. Remember you can go to their web site or call them and get the number to call to report the theft.

If you, or someone you know, does supply one of these calls (or emails) with your account information (account number, password, PIN, etc) immediately call your bank and then call law enforcement (police) and report it.

Researching this on the Internet I found some got calls like mine saying about my MasterCard debit card and others got calls saying about a specific bank credit card (and often people had no account with that bank). I also saw that sometimes these come as text messages so be careful with texts you receive (some times call SMS messages, but almost everyone knows as texts).

Be careful and safe with phone calls you get (and emails and texts) and do not give out personal information except when you know where you are giving. The best course of action is only give personal information when you initiate the call, or email.