LETTER – Beware of telephone scammers this Christmas

Dear editor,

If you’r ephoned from an unknown number or one you don’t recognize, it’s not Santa Claus asking if you’ve been naughty or nice. It’s probably a scammer out to fill his own Christmas stocking with your money.

These thieves have called me unsuccessfully several times this week. They seem particularly active at this time of year. They’ll often call early in the morning, assuming that you’re not fully awake. If you’re a senior, you’re a target because they think you’re not mentally alert or that you’re easily scared.

The scammer will be plausible and tell you he’s with your credit card company. He’ll even give you its 800 number and address. He’ll say there’s an unusual charge on your card and what it is. His fear tactics may now begin to work. You didn’t make the charge and you’re afraid someone else has access to your card but get suspicious when he demands personal information or the three digits on the back of your card. He’ll escalate his scare strategy by saying that your card will immediately be cancelled. If you ask for his name and extension number to call back, he’ll give you a fictitious number or hang up.

The consultant at my credit card company advised that anyone can easily get your name, address and phone number but not personal information such as your place of birth unless you give it to them. Do not ever give out personal information or the number on the back of your card unless you have initiated the call to your credit card company and gone through the procedures they have in place to legitimize your identity.

The scammers didn’t catch me. I hope they don’t get you.

Robert Frick


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