Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Phish for Breakfast

An enlightening story from my partner Chris Carleton...

Some folks have a warped definition of Holiday Season Spirit...and my wife and I just got a dose of it. We experienced our first phishing expedition.

With billions of dollars of holiday shopping underway, the pond is surely stocked for this kind of nefarious nastiness.

It came to us via phone, with an apparently automated system claiming to represent BankOne asking my wife to confirm our credit card data due to recent account activity. As soon as she spoke, asking for a number where she could call back (our approach to fending off bad guy, info-collecting miscreants) the call disconnected.

Despite hitting us in the midst of the morning rush that is packing up three kids and getting them off to grammer school, we were so offput that we just had to swim back upstream.

So, availing ourselves of the *67 dial-back capability of our service provider, we captured the caller's phone number: 800-454-9078. Next, and exemplifying we are tech types, we hit Google and searched on the number. We came up empty handed. We then dialed the number -- after using another of our service provider's capabilities to block our number -- and reached a now-defunct number at the Whirlpool Corporation.

With the trail now seemingly ended -- and the kids needing to be at their school five minutes prior -- we ended our Dick Tracy routine. But we'll report what happened to the Massachusetts State Attorneys General Office. We know these schemes are very hard to trace, but by alerting that group, we'll settle for even the small hope that it might preclude others from being victimized.

And though it might've cost them some late-to-school demerits, our brood just got a real-life lesson on how not to share any personal information -- just because someone asks for it. There are times when doing so is warranted, but it's surely not with unidentified callers. Or their online equivalents.

Our Holiday Wish -- since we can shoot for the stars on those, right? -- is hoping that those who do get busted for this kind of crime get full force of the law brought down upon them.

And that Santa skips their houses later this weekend...


At 12:41 PM, Blogger beimami said...

Thanks for posting the info. I made a purchase with my Bank One VISA card today and received a call shortly thereafter. Someone left a message talking about suspicious activity on my account and told me to call 800 454 9078. I decided to Google the number before calling it and found your website. I have also received suspicious emails in the past in connection with the account. I think I will just cancel that card before I have problems.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger just this once said...

This is not Phishing!!! I, too, received a recorded message. I dialed the number and listened to the request for my credit card number. I entered a fake number a few times and was directed to a LIVE person who told me they were Bank One. I told her I suspected this to be phishing and she said if I have any questions I should contact the phone number on the back of my card. I called that number and they confirmed that there was a question about a charge and they were trying to contact me. I agree with the writer that you must be very careful... but this is not a prank.

At 6:42 PM, Blogger fred said...

I just got a call from this number about a Chase Account. I have no Chase account except a Car loan.

At 6:44 PM, Blogger fred said...

I got a call from this number today for a Chase card. I don't have a card at Chase - just another kind of account. This is definitely Phishing unless my identity has been stolen.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Walter said...

The toll free number calls and never says anything. I can't figure out what's up with that.
But my advice is to never ever never give out any personal #'s on the phone unless you made the connection and the same goes for on the computer. Never sign in to something off the web and give a number. If you think you are dealing with someone legit, close your browser and hook back in with them yourself.

At 7:13 PM, Blogger ChicagoDavid said...

The 800-454-9078 phone # is legitimate. But regardless, you should never call the phone # they provide. Always call the phone # on the back of your credit card!!! We called the phone # on the back of our credit card from Bank One (now Chase) and we were told that security did try to get a hold of us. We told them that they should post this phone # on their web site, so that people know it's legitimate when they Google it. Let's see if they actually do follow through.


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