I received a phone call at a quarter of nine this morning and it startled me out of enjoying "the news" with my kiddo. I was a little miffed at the phone ringing at what I consider to be an early hour, but I jumped up to go get the phone. I noted that the caller ID came up "unknown name/unknown number" and I was tempted to ignore it, but the kiddo kept singing about the phone ringing (thanks, Wonder Pets) so I answered. The connection was a little bad and I had to chase my son out of the room so I could hear the caller. The man had an accent that I couldn't easily identify, but I'm leaning toward it being from a certain part of the world.
He asked for me by a name that I haven't gone by in nearly six-years. Red flags were already popping up at the unknown name & number on the caller ID, but they jumped up and started waving at the name he used. Why? Because I never lived here when I had that last name. Toss in that I'm not on any documents or bills related to running this particular house and I wondered how I was even remotely connected to living here at all and why I would ever receive a phone call at this house, at this phone number.
I ignored that he'd asked for anyone and asked who was calling and why. He claimed to be from a very large bank that I did use at one time for a very short period. When did I use this bank? Over a decade ago. Doubly strange, I thought, that I'd get a phone call from that bank at this house. I mean, I hadn't even married my ex-husband at that point and I certainly wasn't living here with this one!
I asked why he was calling and he said he needed to verify that I was the person he was calling about. I simply indicated that, yes, it was a name I had used in the past and asked again what he was calling about. He repeated that he needed to verify I was who I said and I repeated that it was, in fact, a name I have used. I didn't say anything else because I don't volunteer personal information to strangers over the phone. I lost it when he brought up this verification yet again.
Look, this may have been a perfectly nice man and this may be a legitimate situation he was calling about, but I don't like wasting my time or my breath. I told him that he had all the verification he was ever going to get over the phone and that the company can just send me something via USPS if he were truly representing the bank he claimed. I chimed in that I have little patience to have conversations such as these at this time of day and strongly suggested that he not call again because I won't be nearly so tolerant in the future.
His response? Again with the friggin' verification of who I was! I was sure that it was a scam long before now so I hung up.
I'm writing this post because I think it would be too easy to get scammed in this situation. He did, after all, claim to be from a bank that I did use at some time in my life. However, it's one of the largest banks in the country so the odds are pretty good that I might have used it at some point, right? He also used a name that I haven't used in a long time and, since I know that I am that person, I might be more likely to "prove" to him that I am that person. Who knows what he wanted for proof. . .my guess would be date of birth, possibly social security number, in any event it's information that he'd already have if he were in fact from that bank and it's information that's none of his damn business if he wasn't who he claimed.
I think he was out fishing and I'm glad I didn't bite. Be aware of the personal information you give or volunteer over the phone. Just because they claim to from a legitimate business, it doesn't mean that they are.