You cannot be TOO paranoid
I got a voicemail on my cellphone. A woman told me to call a bank where I have accounts for an “urgent” matter about an account number ending in -XXXX. So I did.
After being routed through a Voice Response Unit which identified itself as the bank I was supposedly calling, I reached an Asian woman. Though she claimed to work in the “Fraud department,” she did not speak English well, and she sounded confused. I provided my name and the last four digits of the account number that the voicemail had listed. I told her I was returning a call from her department. She said she couldn’t locate the account by my name or by the last four digits of the account number, so she asked for the full account number.
“I don’t have that,” I said. “That account was closed years ago due to one of the big computer hacks at Target or Home Depot. The paperwork is long gone.”
“Then I need your Social Security Number,” she said.
“You should have that, if you have my name,” I said.
“No, I need the Social Security Number to access your account,” she said.
“Goodbye,” I said, and hung up.
It was obviously a phishing scam, by the very people whose computer hacking had caused the bank to close that account number in the first place. I looked up the phone number I had called, and it was flagged as a spam phone number. I looked up the bank, and reviewed all the telephone numbers posted for that bank. The bank uses “800” toll-free numbers. The phishing voicemail I had received listed an “877” toll-free number.
I reported the call and the phishing phone number to the real bank. I am glad I didn’t give the phisher any more information than they supplied in their phishing call.
It disturbs me that the criminals have my name and my cellphone number. Maybe I should change it.
You cannot be TOO paranoid. Especially on this planet, which is infested with people who actually think it’s easier to commit crimes than to live an honest life.