Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Exciting New Career in Fraud

Because the post is so rubbish and I only seem to receive about one letter in three, the credit card bill had not arrived and I had missed paying it. Let that be a lesson to me. I have written the date that it should be paid for next month on the calendar now.

So a man from Delhi, sitting inside a washing machine in a busy kitchen on an oil rig in a storm (or so it appeared from the background noise) rang Stephen and asked for his date of birth.

Stephen declined to give out this interesting information, to the man's astonishment.

"But I've got it in front of me here - - all I need you to do is to confirm it."

Stephen declined, wondering aloud how he, Stephen, was supposed to know that was true, since there didn't seem to be a video link to accompany the phone call. Then he said an affectionate goodbye and hung up.

Delhi Man moved onto a building site with a few steam hammers and road drills, chose the part of it where a thousand people were simultaneously talking and crumpling bits of paper, and rang back. This time I answered.

I explained that I knew what the problem was and that I was going to sort it today. (And I have done).

No, this wouldn't do, he needed to explain it to me. Could I confirm my password for the account?

"No," I explained, "because I don't give out personal information over the phone. And it's you who is keen to talk to me. I'm a bit busy at the moment and I don't really want to talk to you."

Well, then, could I give him my mother's maiden name?

"No," I explained, "because I don't give out personal information over the phone."

"But," he asked, "how does it matter if the man from the credit card company in Delhi knows your mother's maiden name?"

"It's the principle of the thing," I explained, "because I don't think it's a good idea to get used to giving out personal information over the phone, in case somebody rings up pretending to be from a call centre in Delhi sited at the top of a mountain in a howling gale, when really they're a fraudster from Bradford."

This confused him a bit. I had a dining-room to dust. I made my excuses and left.

But clearly most people are happy to give out their information to anyone who asks. And Gareth just pointed out to me that I sound really respectable.

I feel a new career coming on.

I will just ring random numbers from the phone book.

"Hello, I'm from Bank Fraud and Burglary UK and I'm just ringing to check your credit card details. Could you give me the long number across the front please? I've got it in front of me here, of course, but I just need to check it's correct. - - Fine, and the name on the card, and the expiry date? Thank you. And the three digit security number on the back? Lovely.

Now I just need to check your address, and your holiday dates. - - Great, so you'll be away then? Fantastic. And just in case we're not available the first two weeks in July, is there a window that you usually leave open when you're at home that would be big enough for a burglar to climb through? - - And that's round the back, is it? Excellent.

Finally, I just need a description of your car - - it's red, isn't it? - - Oh, sorry, a blue BMW. I was looking at the wrong line. And the registration number? - - Great, thank you. I need to check the security device on the keys too so could you just post them to this box number? Wonderful."

If you don't hear from me for a couple of weeks, you'll find me somewhere with palm trees, counting my money.


Anonymous ruth said...

I have more than once been phoned by my credit card company and refused to give personal info out. Once they were trying to check some purchases by credit card in Iceland (I told them I don't shop in Iceland as there isn't one locally and I have only got a tiny freezer - they said "No, Iceland the country"). Another time they were checking it was me who had bought a television online (I had). On every occasion I tell them I won't give them my personal info on the phone because they phoned me and I don't know they really are who they say they are so why should I prove I am who they think I might be. They then suggest I call them back on the telephone number on my credit card and it works out fine. It sounds like your man in Delhi hasn't been trained properly.

1:04 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

Such a game of round robin has life become of late....

Your description is hilarious!

4:16 pm  
Blogger Silverback said...

Well you are just SO respectable sounding that I'd happily give you all that information in a heartbeat.

In fact last Wednesday I was told I'd won the Nigerian Lottery and although I gave the nice man my financial details, so far my winnings don't seem to have been deposited in my bank account.

Hang on, someone claiming to be my bank manager has just called to tell me my account has been cleared out. Yeah right, as if I'd believe THAT !!! Does he think I'm an idiot ??

5:53 pm  
Blogger Debby said...

Sounds like an excellent retirement plan to me! In fact, could I get in on it? I've stolen cheese you know. Silverback can fill you in. Suffice it to say I'm a pro!

9:45 pm  
Blogger Kim said...

while you are very respectable sounding, you are so respectable sounding that I find it difficult to believe you could be capable of fraud, then again that means you are more likely to get away with it :p


7:06 pm  

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