Saturday, August 28, 2010

Preying on the Weak

I received a Text Message saying:

NETSPEND NOTICE: Your
CARD has been                    
DEACTIVATED.  Please     
 call (512)x541-2139.            

I freaked out.  My company is switching me over to a Blackberry.  I assumed they'd deactivated my phone because it was shipped to my office or something.  It's the end of the month.  NOT a good time to be out of touch with my stores.

I decided to test it.  I was able to send and receive calls from my phone.  That's odd.  So I decided to call the number.

An automated message answered in an unrecognizable accent saying: "Thank you for calling Netspend.  24 hours card activation service.  Please enter your 16 digits card number."

Not entering anything gets you silence, pressing zero doesn't do anything.  I hit pound and it told me it was an invalid card number.

Seriously?  Who is stupid enough to break out their credit card and enter it in? Then I remembered my wife getting a phone call a few years back.  We were driving and I saw her reach into her purse and pull out her debit card.  She started entering it in to the phone.  "What the hell are you doing?" I asked.  A wave of realization hit her face and she snapped the phone shut.  She said, "I don't know what I was thinking."

It's as simple as that.  If you're not really paying attention to the whole situation, you've been conned before you even realize it. 

That's what these types of scams do.  Let's say they sent out 1000 texts today and 10 people enter their card number into the phone.  1% success when you're stealing is still a success.  But what if it's 100?  Or 500?

Is there somewhere (besides internet forums) to report this kind of stuff?  Have you been a victim or seen people attempt identity theft against you?  I certainly have.

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