This morning I received a recorded message: This is blah need to call blah blah about your order blah blah issue blah blah blah immediately.
Fortunately, the 1-800 number was intelligible. I dialed it. Another recording said I would be transferred to a human in the order in which my call had been received. Music played in the background. In seconds, the human answered and said her name was Natalie.
Our conversation went something like this:
Natalie: What is your name, please?
Me: Kathy Waller
Natalie: Thank you. Now would you please read the number at the bottom of your check.
Me: (Long pause) The number where?
Natalie: At the bottom of your check.
Me: Why do you need the number from my check?
Natalie: So I can look up your account and find your order.
Me: What did I order?
Natalie: I don’t know. We represent a lot of businesses. So I need your number to find what you ordered.
Me: What is the name of the business you’re calling from?
Natalie: Blah blah. And we can’t clear up this issue and send your checks if we don’t have that number.
Me: Well, what financial institution are these checks ordered for?
Natalie: That depends, because we represent a lot of businesses, so I have to have your account number.
Me: Let me understand this. You want me to give you my bank account number.
Me: My checks are ordered through my bank. So why don’t you call my bank for this information?
Natalie: Well, that’s the thing. I don’t know what your bank is. Because we represent a lot of financial institutions.
Me: (Getting down to the brass tacks) But I haven’t ordered any checks.
Natalie: (Hurriedly) Oh. It must have been a mistake. Goodbye. (Click)
I hung up, thought for half a moment, googled the 1-800 number, and hit on a website dedicated to reporting conversations such as the one I had with Natalie. I reported it. Then I clicked on the link to the Federal Communications Commission.
Natalie isn’t the first questionable customer service rep I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with. I used to get calls from a company offering to lower the interest rate on my credit card. The first couple of calls distressed me. I was so obviously intended to become a victim. The third time, however, I realized I didn’t have to cede control to a stranger. Over the course of the next several calls, I developed a system.
That company doesn’t call any more, but here’s how our conversations used to go:
Caller: Good morning. I’m calling to say you have the opportunity to lower the interest rate on your credit card. Does that sound good?
Me: Oh, mercy me, yes. I would love to have a lower interest rate.
Caller: That’s good. Okay. Would you please give me your account number.
Me: What account number?
Caller: Your credit card account. The number on your credit card.
Me: Oh. Don’t you have my number?
Caller: No, ma’am. You need to give that to me.
Me: Why don’t you have it? You said you would get me a lower interest rate. How can you do that if you don’t know my account number?
Caller: Ma’am, if you’ll give me the number, I’ll look it up.
Me: But if you don’t already know my account number, how do you know my current rate? You can’t promise to get me a lower one if you don’t know what it is now. Can you?
Caller: Ma’am, if you’ll just give me your credit card number, I can look it up and see what your rate is and then I can get a better one.
Me: Wait a minute. You called me, so you should know the number of the account you want to talk to me about.
Caller: Ma’am, that is confidential information. I don’t have it. You’ll have to give it to me.
Me: But I can’t give you confidential information over the phone. I mean, if you don’t already know what the account number is, and you don’t know the current rate, I just don’t see how you can get the rate lowered.
Caller: (Sounding a little testy) Ma’am, I’m not going to argue with you…
Me: Oh, good, because I don’t want to argue either. Now if you’ll just tell me what my new interest rate is going to be…
Caller: Look, ma’am…
Me: I’m sure it’s all there if you just look for it. Because you called me, so you must have all the information right there in your computer. So you read me my account number, and I’ll tell you if you have it right. Then we can talk about my new interest rate.
I always hung up smiling.
Because–to quote my mother, the word maven, the person who cringed in physical pain upon hearing the phrase for he and I, the person who rode herd on my grammar even before I began to speak—I hadn’t had so much fun since the hogs ate my brother.
15 thoughts on “Gone Phishing”
We have just instituted a completely revised Consumer Protection Act in our country to act against this very thing – they are complete ratbags!
Ratbags is a good word for them. It’s terrible when people believe they’re legitimate and hand over information, money, whatever they’re asked for. We have legislation that applies, but, quite frankly, consumer protection isn’t the highest priority in the U. S. right now.
Love it, Kathy! This reminds me of a co-worker who delighted in tormenting cold callers. Despite the fact that he made a living in sales. Or maybe because–he had an actual product to sell.
A man called him wanted him to invest for a phenomenal return rate. He acted interested and managed to keep the guy on the phone for about 20 minutes, explaining the options and the details. Finally my co-worker said he had made up his mind to invest with him. He then said he had $1000 he could give him to work with. The guy was off the phone in seconds.
I'[m glad to hear I’m not alone. I don’t want to be rude. But anyone trying to get that kind of info out of me deserves a role in one of my little dramas. At least that’s how I see it. It brightens my day.
This is terrible! I just heard about a fraud that Visa/Mastercarad is going on – so thanks for the heads up!
You’re welcome. I didn’t post either “company’s” name, but according to what I’ve read online, many people get calls from them. When anyone calls asking for my bank account or credit card number, I assume they’re not thinking about how to help me.
Love, love, love this, Kathy! Good for you. These people are idiotic pests.
Avoiding this scam is SO logical and yet SO many people still fall for it. *SMH*
You’d think people would be familiar with it by now. We’re a trusting folk.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
When the money arives from my Nigerian billionaire I won’t have to listen to this stuff anymore.
Good luck on that one. I’ve been waiting for my money for years. Ever since I got e-mail, I think.
Thank you for stopping by and for commenting. Hope you’ll return sometime.
You’ve been reblogged 🙂
Wow! How kind! Thank you!
I’m reading this for the second time and giggling all over again! 🙂
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