Almost Scammed

Dear Dr. Per Cap:

I’ve heard you say that anyone can fall victim to a scam.  Have you ever been scammed?


Scam Hater

Dear Scam Hater,

Fortunately, I’ve never been conned out of a significant enough amount of money to consider myself a scam victim. However, I sure came close last month.

We took a family vacation, our first long-distance trip since COVID, and I used my credit card to pay for hotels, meals, and gifts. In the past, my bank has a habit of freezing my card when I’m making purchases out of town. Really annoying when it gets declined at a store checkout or restaurant, but I understand it’s nothing personal. Just a safety precaution, and after a quick call to verify my identity and purchases, the card is immediately placed back into service.

That’s why I wasn’t surprised when on our way to dinner one evening I received a text message that my card had been locked by my bank.

My first thought was that it all made sense. I was traveling, spending more money than usual, and the bank’s fraud algorithms kicked into high gear. So I called the number in the text and listened to what sounded like a very legitimate recorded message stating that my credit card had been temporarily suspended due to unusual activity. It then directed me to input my credit card number using the keypad.

I was so convinced it was legit that I entered the first few digits of my card number. A relative was with us so I felt the extra pressure of being embarrassed if my card got declined later at the restaurant. Then I stopped to think for a moment and hung up.

Yeah, yeah … banks never call or text asking for credit card info. Or do they?

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