Mid-life Without the Crisis

It really isn't the destination, but the journey. May be cliche, but it's true.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Beware of Scams

I guess I'm pretty old-school.  I don't have caller ID on my home phone, so when it rings, I answer it.  It could be my mom, or my daughter, or my best friend, or someone equally important.

When the phone rang last night during a favorite show, I was tempted to let it ring, but it could have been someone important, so I answered.  "This is Card Services."  The lovely recorded voice then went on to assure me that there is nothing wrong with my credit card, but they would like to offer me the chance to lower the rates on my cards.  I was asked to press "1" if I wanted to speak to a representative.  Of course, I pressed "1" - who wouldn't want to lower their interest rates?  Then I told the nice lady that I couldn't find my credit card and would she please hold while I located it.  

Then I watched the rest of my show and only hung up the phone when I heard the signal telling me that the other party had hung up.  It took her 15 minutes to give up.

This is a huge scam, people!  Don't fall for it.  First of all, I don't even have any credit cards and the balance on my husband's is under $600.  Secondly, I've dealt with these people before and I know what they're up to.

They call themselves Card Services (or sometimes a variation of that), but they won't give you a company name.  They also will not give you a phone number.  (Legitimate businesses will.)  If you actually do give them your credit card number, they will charge your card about $995 as a front-end fee that you will "save in the long run after we show you how to lower your rates."  What you will instead get is a charge on your card and information in the mail with commonly-known "tips" on how to lower your rates, like paying more than the minimum payment, transferring balances to lower-rate cards, etc.  (No, I didn't fall for it - but I've read up on them since they keep calling me.)

Since they robo-call, being on a Do Not Call List is not really any help and since they will not give you a legitimate company name and number, you can't exactly report them to your Attorney General's office (well, you can, but they won't be able to do anything about it).

I've even asked them to place me on their internal Do Not Call List, but since there are many of these operations, having one not call is no guarantee you won't be called by another.

So the best thing to do is either ignore them completely or mess with them.  I liked my searching-for-my-card idea as it kept her holding.  Her dime, not mine.  And during those 15 minutes, she wasn't bothering anyone else.  Whatever you do, just don't fall for their line.

For more stories about this scam, you can peruse the site linked hereTo add your number to the national Do Not Call Registry, click on this linkAnd if you want to add your number to Missouri's Do Not Call, go here

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