Thursday, September 18, 2008

They're Getting Smarter, But *I'M* Not Stupid

When the phone rings at 4:19 a.m., it's never a happy call.

I should be glad that the one that came in this morning wasn't, say, my stepmother with news of my brother in Iraq. Or a frantic call from my mother-in-law asking us to meet them at the hospital. And I am. But I'm more pissed off.

We all know about phishing scams, right? Where you get an e-mail all set up in stolen HTML from a credit card company with a link for you to "verify your information." Well, they've gone low-tech.

Phone rings. I say hello. It clicks to a recording with a woman (who sounds just like most recorded messages) who says she's from Members 1st Federal Credit Union and my card has been suspended. To reach the security center, press one.

Now, I'm a pretty good waker-upper. It's really rare that I don't just snap into awareness and process things normally, even if I'm really tired. And I often start waking up sometime between three and four, and then keep waking up every 20 minutes or half hour until the alarm goes off. So 4:19 a.m. isn't a vulnerable time for me like it might be for a lot of people (clever bastards).

I don't have a Members 1st account of any kind, and neither does my husband (to my knowledge! LOL). And the recording didn't say what KIND of card. And since it was a recording and not a live person, they didn't say WHOSE card it was, which would be stupid because anyone could answer the phone. Every Christmas, when we go shopping for presents, our bank calls to verify purchases, either because we had a lot in one day or because we had a big-ticket item. If it was my husband's card, they won't talk to me. It has to be him. And it's a live person. So I knew from the get-go that this was a scam. But I was curious. So I pressed one.

The recording said again that my card was suspended, and to reactivate, press one. I did, and it asked for me to enter my card number. I mean, come on! THEY called ME. They're supposed to know my number. The whole thing is so obvious to be laughable. But it's also scary, because it will work. They will reach elderly people, people of diminished capacity, young people who don't pay attention or who are too busy thinking of sex and music to use logic, or even smart people who don't wake up that easily or are too distracted to think and who will pull out their Members 1st card, or even a different card, assuming that must be what the nice lady on the phone is talking about, and enter the number. And bam, credit card fraud that will kill their credit and follow them forever.

That really pisses me off.

I wasn't aware before today that this was a widespread issue. I checked the Members 1st web site today and they referred to it as "Vishing"--like phishing but with V for voice. Spread the word, so no one you know gets accidentally caught by this crap.

On a happier note...

...or at least, a more amusing one...

After the call, I had more vivid, intense dreams (I've been having them every night for ages). This one had something mundane, like housecleaning (dishes? laundry?) or soccer or something, with a mystical element. I remember waking up amused and thinking "mystical laundry" or whatever, but now I can't recall what the mundanity was. Anyway, between the call and the dreams, I was a little unfocused. I was thinking about our long-distance away games Saturday morning and thinking that was tomorrow, which means I was forgetting that today was only Thursday...

And then I remembered! Supernatural starts today! Woo hoo!

To whet your appetite:

(I didn't actually watch it myself, but enjoy!)


Tracy Madison said...

Oooh! Tonight's the night. I'd...sort of forgotten. Thank's for the reminder. :)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I bet you forgot our phone call tonight at 9, too, didn't you!? ;)

Victoria said...

That's sucky about the vishing! Stupid morons!
And...oh, you are so mean to post that video. I watched it! Total SQUEE, but I saw things I didn't want to yet!
But...6 hours...
I can't wait!!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Hee heeeee! You know what they say about payback...I'm the bitch!

(Line from Angel)

I'm glad I didn't watch it, then!

Victoria said...

I should have expected it! ha! Seriously, it only made me want it more, though I could have done without so much information at this point. Oh well...
My mom got the same call you did - hers came in at 3:41 am though.

Tracy Madison said...

Nat..Oh YEAH! 9:00 phone call.

You callin' me or am I calling you?


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Now that's weird, Vicki!

Too late, Tracy! Hahaha!