*** “Legitimate” voice message from “CIBC credit card fraud department” at “1-866-454-4339” ?
Is this telephone fraud or is it for real?
“Hello, this is the CIBC credit card fraud department calling. We have an urgent message for yyyy. Please note that this is not a sales call. And it is important that we speak with you. Please contact CIBC at 1-866-454-4339 at your earliest opportunity. A representative will be available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The number again is 1-866-454-4339. Thank you very much and have a nice day. For your convenience, this message will repeat again. Hello, this is the CIBC credit card fraud department […]“
A friend recently received the above message. In a series of articles about credit card fraud, I will share with you my reactions, investigations & recommendations to credit card users and the credit card companies.
*** Trusting a random voice message? When in doubt, what to do?
Should you trust a random and machine generated voice message claiming to be your credit card provider? My reaction and advice is of course NOT! With so many cases of reported telephone and internet fraud, people are correct to be VERY skeptical of random phone calls concerning their private financial information.
– Problem: At press time, research and investigation by the author has confirmed the toll-free number 1-866-454-4339 is NOT even listed in CIBC’s official information/website. How can people trust this as a valid toll-free number? Comments: This serious mistake that can be easily fixed. First of all, it makes 100% sense to list the fraud department’s toll free number on the bank’s official website. Better, print the fraud department’s 27/7 toll-free number on the back of credit cards, and ask the customers to call the toll-free number on their credit card!
– Comments: For security reason, customers don’t know and can’t really confirm who call them (incoming calls’ caller id can be spoofed/faked) BUT they can be more certain of who they call (after all, they dial the digits themselves). So fraud department should really ask their customers to call them directly using well-publicized number and not just an unpublished toll-free number.
The moral of the story
for customers and CIBC credit card fraud department (yes, 1-866-454-4339 is indeed CIBC’s number) is this: When in doubt, be polite but don’t trust random people. Using only toll-free numbers you can be 120% SURE are from the financial institutions. Don’t trust any other unofficial sources, websites, or blogs (including this blog). Your financial information is too important to blindly trust some stranger.
[update: With this new reader comment, I revised my the moral of this story to simply, “When in doubt, be polite but don’t trust random people. Using only toll-free numbers you can be 120% SURE are from the financial institutions.“.]
*** Fraud detection
The fraud department customer service agent wasn’t able nor willing to share much information. But here is a few noteworthy pieces of information based on what was implied,
– They seem to have no idea when did the fraud happen. The official line was: it could have happened in the last year! Yes, 12 months!
– If they detect lots of potential fraudulent activities from a merchant, the fraud detection department seems to be quite defensive and will re-issue/cancel customers’ cards who transacted at that merchant.