Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Hacker From Houston

I received a phone call today from a "Ms. Moore" who claimed to be from Capital One. She said they had not received my payment. This was odd, because I'm a fanatic about paying my bills. I went through my records when she was on the phone, and sure enough... I could not even find a statement or that month. Did I get it? I started to wonder. I took a little long too review my records and she started to get loud. She said that I was in "collections" for the full amount and became increasingly belligerent. This didn't make sense. One payment and into collections?

I said, "How do I know you're really from Capital One?" At that point, she started screaming, and so I said, "I'm calling Capital One right now." I hung up, she was still screaming. Upon calling Capital One and talking to their collections department, they found no indication of them having placed any calls. Furthermore, to them, I was a customer in excellent standing, and they were willing to waive any late fees because I had called them, and this was an unusual oversight on my part. I went onto my caller I.D., and gave them the number that had shown up. It was a normal number from "Business Office," with a regular area code and number.

She said that it was suspicious. Whenever a Capital One agent would call, the number would always come up as "Number Unavailable." And whenever I called them, it would always be an 800 number, and a second party would come on the line if I were to make a payment from my bank account to verify the information. It looked very suspicious and they are investigating. I paid off the account and closed it down.

I found out that the number was from the Houston area. My friends down there say that since Katrina, there have been loads of scams happening around there, and now it seems they've also hacked systems. Another scam they're perpetrating is to call people and tell them there's a warrant for their arrest because they've missed jury duty. For a few thousand, they can change it. They ask for you bank routing number and empty your account.

So if you come home and find a message from a credit card company asking you to call them back, go immediately to your statement and call that number instead.


Ed Padgett said...


I had something similar happen to me last year. Received an email from Earthlink, requesting I update my account information. When I came to the line asking for my ATM pin number, I refused to finish the form.

I promptly sent an email to Earthlink, telling them they could stop my Internet service, but I would not give them my pin number.

Within thirty minutes, a rep from Earthlink called, and stated they would never ask for someone's pin number. They called this Phishing, it was a scam, online.

RB said...

WOW! Pretty scary. Amazing at the amount of scams we hard-working folks have to deal with. And if one is not careful, we could actually screw ourselves by not being alert.

I've always been careful, but as clever as some may be, you never know when you might be devulging precious info that you think can't hurt you.

Keep the info flowing.


Jess Espinoza said...

I never give personal information over the phone; if I'm applying for something I always request that a hard copy be sent to me via snail mail. You never know really know to whom you are speaking, it could be anyone.

Bluesangel921 said...

I once had someone from Capital One contact me because of "unusual activity" on my credit card. They offered to close the account and open and transfer my balance to another one if I would just give them my information over the phone. I asked for a number so I could call them back with the requested information and the guy became quite irritated and kept telling me that I would be responsible for any unauthorized charges if I didn't give him the information immediately. I then asked to speak to his supervisor because he had become rude and he hung up on me! I immediately called Capital One and was told they had no record of any "unusual activity" on my credit card and they would never call and ask for information like that over the phone. The lady I spoke to told me that if I had doubts about a call I should always ask for a telephone number to call them back. Happily, I've never had to do that.

Anonymous said...

On the flip side to this story, I rentd a House Boat and filled Up the Tanks Useing My ATM card. $about 225.00 and lo and behold My ATM card was turned off.
same thing with My master card in Coubo Mexico when they saw charges in restaurnts and had The Hotell phone hooked Up.
It a good forthought to call Your banks at let them know that You will be using Your cards when ever you travel.