By now, everyone should have heard about the telephone scams involving a caller claiming to be from the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) or the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).
These tax agency scams generally receive the most coverage, but some don’t get much attention. Recently, people have also received calls from individuals claiming to be from their “bank” informing them their credit card was used in fraudulent activities.
What is the scam?
A person receives a call from an individual who claims they are an employee at their “bank.” The individual then notifies the receiver that their credit card has been used in fraudulent activities.
At this point, the person claiming to be from the bank hangs up the phone. However, instead of actually hanging up the phone, the scammer plays a dial tone. This scheme creates a sense of panic, so that the receiver will want to call their bank back.
Without realizing that the call is still connected, the victim dials the number that is on the back of their credit card. Then another scammer comes back on the line and fakes being the credit card company.
They push for the receiver to aid in their investigation and transfer money into another account. Once the victim transfers the money into the account, they have fallen for the scam.
How is this different?
This type of scam requires the receiver to use an old phone that doesn’t have caller ID or to not have caller ID, in general. If a receiver had caller ID, they would realize that the call is still connected.
This would have alerted the receiver that something strange was going on. This could have potentially ended the scam before the receiver transferred the money.
How can you protect yourself?
This type of scam works best on landlines because cell phones don’t keep the call connected after someone has ended the call.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be your bank, make sure that the call has actually ended before attempting another call.
Hang up your phone and then dial a number. This would ensure that no call was left connected. Double-check with your credit card company by calling them yourself but only after you made sure no call was left open.
Additionally, never trust someone who is creating a sense of urgency, as they could very well be trying to get you to do something without thinking. Take some time and search the internet for a potential scam at play.
The last thing you can do is to never give out personal information without verifying caller ID.