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Not Phishing Until The Cows Come Home

, , , , | Working | February 11, 2021

My wife, an IT manager, is tasked by her director with arranging for more than a hundred employees to receive holiday gift cards from a very, very large e-commerce company. The initial process is actually very easy, as she creates a single file with all of the work email addresses and then submits the order on our personal account because my wife’s company doesn’t have a corporate account, at least that she can access. We are fortunate to have a lot of unused credit, so we are able to front the thousands of dollars until she is reimbursed, which will happen prior to our bill being due.

The next day, my wife answers a call from a man with an Indian accent.

Caller: “Is this [My Name]?”

She hands the phone to me.

Me: “Yes, this is [My Name].”

Caller: “Did you…”

The background noise is so loud that it sounds like the man is on the street in Mumbai or in a market in Hyderabad. We hear cows mooing, horns honking, and people yelling, and we can barely hear the man.

Me: “What did you say?”

I’m wondering if this is some sort of scam call.

Caller: “Garble, garble, garble…”

Now we hear two people yelling at each other in the background, but we still can’t hear the man. I’m getting more concerned that this is a scam, but I’m also getting interested in what the scammer is trying to do.

I finally hear the man ask:

Caller: “Did you authorize [same exact amount as we spent on Large E-Commerce Site]?”

I realize that rather than a scammer, this man is actually “fraud prevention,” because no scammer would know that amount, and a scammer would ask for some information from me.

Me: “Yes, I spent that money on gift cards at [E-Commerce Site].”

Caller: “Thank you.”

And then, with one last “moo” in the background, the line went dead.

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