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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Don’t. Sign. Without. Reading.

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: B007833 | December 20, 2020

Back when PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) was a massive scandal in the UK, I worked in a PPI complaints department for a pretty bad credit card company. This American card company gave cards to those no one else would dare, leading to a lot of bad debts.

If PPI was mis-sold, we would issue a letter offering a refund amount for the customer to accept, sign, and return. Underneath the signature area was a very important statement:

Statement: “If your account is not in good standing, this refund will be used to offset any debt and the remainder will be paid to you within [number] weeks of returning.”

At least eight times a day, I’d have to explain to a customer that they weren’t receiving their refund for whatever amount due to their account being in bad debt status and how we’d reduced their debt for their own benefit as per the instruction under their signature. It was amazing how many customers had already spent their refunds before receiving them and thought that having a payment plan for £10 a month with collections on a £7000 debt meant they were up to date with their payments and should receive their refunds.

Luckily, we were the accounts managers; there was no one to escalate to, and we just held firm until they gave up. I loved that job.

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He May Be Dead, But His Credit Score Is Phenomenal

, , , | Working | CREDIT: ChloroformScented | December 10, 2020

My dad died in 2015, but we are still getting non-stop credit card offers for him. I decide to call up the company and get them to stop sending my dad mail.

Me: “Hi. My father is dead, but you keep sending him mail. I want you to take his name off your mailing list.”

Representative: “I’m sorry, but I need to speak to the person to whom the mailings are addressed, or I need a copy of a death certificate.”

Me: “Ma’am, he is dead. He keeps receiving offers from you. He has no credit card with your company. And I am certainly under no obligation to send a death certificate in order to stop receiving junk mail.”

This same conversation keeps going in circles. Finally, I get fed up.

Me: “Fine! I’d like to open this credit card under his name, then.”

Representative: “But you just said he was deceased.”

Me: “Yes.”

The representative was silent for a few seconds before transferring me to the correct helpers.

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This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 94

, , , , , | Right | June 16, 2020

I work for a credit card company.

Customer: “My card was declined. I need you to fix this right away!”

Me: “Ma’am, your card is over the $400 limit. Also, I see that you have never made a payment. You need to make a payment in order to keep using this card. I can take a payment over the phone.”

Customer: “I don’t have to pay for this! You guys sent me this card; I just use it!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, but you need to make a payment in order to continue to use this card.”

Customer: “I thought this was all paid through advertisements! I don’t have to pay for this! You sent me the card!”

Me: “…”

This is not the first time this has happened to me. Nor will it be the last.

Related:
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 93
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 92
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 91

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The Scams Are Coming From Inside The Walls

, , , , | Working | May 26, 2020

My grandmother falls prey to an Internet scam that results in a recurring charge on her credit card every month for $100. After a few months, she asks my mother and me for help, so we call the credit card company.

Employee #1: “Okay, we have issues like this all the time. Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to cancel this card and send you a new one, but I’ll put a security hold on your account so that your new information isn’t forwarded to the scammers. Then, I’ll start the paperwork to see if we can refund the fraudulent charges, and I’ll open an investigation into the scammers. Does that sound good?”

We thank him profusely for his help and even agree to pay extra to have my grandmother’s new card overnighted to her so we can put this mess behind us. But the next month, we see the fraudulent charges again. Because my grandmother has updater services — when she gets a new card, her company automatically sends the information to the companies that she has recurring charges with — we realize that the security block must have failed, so we call again.

Employee #2: “I’m looking at the account, and I see that a new card was issued, but there’s nothing in the file about a security block for these charges, no paperwork started at all about the fraud, and no open investigation.”

Grandmother: “So, what you’re telling me is that your coworker openly lied to me over the phone when he said he was taking care of all that?”

It turns out that was pretty much the case. The second employee was very helpful. She stayed on the line with us while she did each step and confirmed that she’d completed each one as she did. We spoke to her supervisor — who also confirmed that everything had been handled — and told him that she did a great job, but we lodged a very strong complaint about the first employee who’d helped us.

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