This is a text that came through on my phone Thursday. What?! So I did the knee-jerk reaction; I clicked the link and up came the Wells Fargo sign-in page. I signed in, entered my password, all the while thinking there must be some mistake, there’s no logical reason on earth why my account would be suspended. Then came the next page: please enter your account information, debit card number, social security . . . whoa whoa whoa. I stop. I call my local Wells Fargo branch, which was something I should have done to begin with. Sure enough, they never sent me the text, nothing is wrong with my account, and I spent almost an hour with Wells Fargo upping the security on my account. Yes. I was the target of a scam. Yes, these people had my number, knew I was a Wells Fargo account holder, and sent me a link to a page of their design. Yes, it looked just like a Wells Fargo page. That’s how good these people are. It is the skill they hone. Just like I work at the craft of writing, or some work at the craft of being a master chef or making sure your husband and children don’t leave the house looking like someone who rode a roller coaster twenty times in a row, some people work at the craft of deception.
You’d think I would have learned my lesson. About a month ago I was targeted by a credit card scammer. There was a message on my answering machine, my land line this time, claiming to be one of my credit cards reporting suspicious activity. Suspicious activity on a credit card? This happened to me already about six months ago. I was one of the people who got taken in the Michaels Craft Store breach that was spreading through Florida. Luckily the credit card company caught it, froze my credit accounts and we got it resolved (God bless Capital One. Seriously, what is in your wallet). So I was thinking, here we go again. I called the number this supposed creditor left on my machine and an automated voice prompted me to enter my credit card number. I did. Then it asked for my PIN. Can I tell you, thank goodness I don’t believe in taking cash advances from credit cards, therefore I don’t have PIN numbers attached to them. Had there been a PIN number, yes, I would have been stupid enough to enter it. I hung up instead and went online to look at the account. No suspicious activity. I called the number on the back of the credit card, which was different from the number that was left on my machine. The woman I spoke to told me there was no suspicious activity on my account, that the phone call was a scam that was going around. She offered this advice, “Don’t ever call any number for a credit card other than the one that is on the credit card.” Sounds right. Wells Fargo told me, “Don’t ever click on links sent to you.”
I am passing this wisdom on to you. I always thought I could never be scammed. But these people are good. Don’t call them back, don’t follow their links, don’t answer their texts. Call your local bank first. Call the number on your credit card first. Protect yourself. Don’t accept what you are being told is true. Find out. Or you could find yourself in a world of hurt.