Darxus

Do you ever think about security?

Do you ever think about security?

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2009-09-29
I just got a call from RCN saying my bill payments haven't gone through. They suggested I call back at a number provided by them and give them my credit card info.

In that situation, does it occur to you that you have no evidence that the person you're giving your credit card info to is actually RCN?

I said no, I'll get the number off the web. She said "Well this is a different number." Then I pointed out I have no evidence of who she is, and she said okay. It amazes me that people expect people to be okay with this, because, presumably, people usually are.
  • yeah, this always confuses me.
  • I'm always amazed at how some folks expect us to just accept that.
    I had a less than amusing argument with a Greenpeace rep about just handing my credit card over to some guy in the street with a clipboard, and his argument was that handing my card over at restaurants was about as safe...not a way to convince me he's safe, though. Sheesh.
    • his argument was that handing my card over at restaurants was about as safe...not a way to convince me he's safe, though.
      Except that at a restaurant, you have a physical location and a business (with at least enough assets to pay the rent) you can tie the person to. OK, theoretically somebody could walk in off the street and claim to be your server, but the likelihood of them getting away with that for a non-trivial amount of time is pretty small. The likelihood of somebody who falsely claims to be a Greenpeace canvasser getting away with standing on a streetcorner for an hour or so is much higher.

      (When I canvassed for Greenpeace a couple of decades ago, a few of the towns required us to wear municipal-government-issued canvasser ID, which is kind of cumbersome for the non-profit, but increases the likelihood of tracking somebody down in the event of a dispute. Most didn't, though. On the other hand, back then we didn't take credit cards.)
  • Yeah, that's a pretty fascinating phishing scheme there. The standard advice is that you should not give out your credit card information over the phone unless YOU call THEM for a legitimate business purpose. But I don't think that applies when you call the mysterious 800 number in order to give your number to confirm your bill payments.

    In your shoes I would do a reverse lookup on the 800 number (or just type it into google and see what pops up), and then I'd call the number on the back of my credit card and get my current balance, and then I'd check my bank to see the checks had cleared. But I wouldn't call the number given. Frankly, if the credit card company knows you've made payments, I don't see why they haven't credited them to your account.
  • Don't call the number. RCN's Credit Department number will be right on your bill (or online bill). Call that number and see if there really is a problem.

    I had a fake Verizon collector try this for weeks.
  • After working in a credit card call center for as many years as I did, I found the majority of people will give you whatever you want. I've called people before who have never spoken to me and they gave me enough information that would allow me to commit massive ID theft.

    Then you have the paranoid people who called me (from the number on the back of the card) and are demanding I prove I work for the company before they give me any information. I think it's probably better to be like this than to just give all your information away.
  • You are right to be squicked. This is a common scam. In fact just happned with one of my CC yesterday!
  • one of the major questions I ask when I join a bank or credit card is how they handle things if something bad happens. I have had an experience with identity theft and luckily my bank handled it very well.

    those freecreditreport.com commercials are annoying; however, people should be on top of their credit in case something happens....
  • Of course realizing the lesson on the other side here is that you can often convince people to act a certain way just by authoritatively telling them to do it. Lots of potential uses if you want to be less than honest with strangers. "Hey buddy you can't park there." is only one way to free up a good parking spot.
  • I find that most interesting since RCN claims to be taking security more seriously these days.
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