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Phone security

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Phone scams can include phone calls to you claiming to be from your bank or financial institution. The scammer will usually tell you that your credit card or account has been cancelled because it was involved in criminal activity, or because they suspect your card or details have been stolen. This can be a trick to get you to give them your account details.

You will be told that a suspicious transaction has recently occurred on your account, perhaps a large purchase in a foreign country. You will be told that if you did not authorise the transaction, you need to take immediate action as your credit card details have been stolen.

The scammer will ask you to confirm your credit card or account details so the they can ‘investigate’. In some variations of this scam, the scammer may already have your credit card number (that they have stolen previously), and may even quote this to you. They will then ask you to confirm that you are the cardholder by telling them the 3 or 4 digit security number printed on the card. If the scammers have this number, they can use your card to buy things over the Internet or phone.

These phoney fraud investigations are used to steal your banking details so the scammers can use your account. They work by lowering your guard with the phoney fraud alert. They hope that you panic and do what they suggest to fix the ‘problem’. They are particularly tricky to spot because real banks and credit unions often do contact people if there has been suspicious activity on their account.

  Warning signs
  • You receive an email or a phone call from somebody saying they are from your financial insistution, asking you about recent activity on your credit card or account.
  • You are asked to confirm your credit card and bank account details over the phone.
  • The caller or the email claims that there has been fraudulent activity found on your account, or that your card has been cancelled.
  • You may be advised to contact a fake fraud investigations body, and discouraged from contacting your financial institution directly.
  Tips to protect yourself from phoney fraud alerts
  • Do not give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
  • Terminate the call and phone the financial institution the call claimed to be from (sourcing the phone number from a trusted source), confirming they did in fact make the call. 
  • Never call a telephone number that you see in a spam email.
  • Consider ordering a credit report every year to make sure no one is using your name to borrow money or run up debts.

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