Those of us in the IT field are subject to the same pressures as everyone else, and we can stumble just as easily as anyone when we’re rushing to leave on vacation – or a business trip. Here’s the story of how I almost blew it – and I’m stickin’ to it. Let it serve as a lesson for you.
It was the Friday before we were leaving for our latest (hopefully not last) family vacation (Charlie will be college-age next summer), and I was in a rush to close all our business and personal affairs before leaving the next morning. I got a call on our home landline purporting to be the bank for our main credit card wanting to question charges from Walmart and Malaysian Airlines. With one foot out the door, I wasn’t thinking straight. They said I could have a new card in three or four days, but I said I needed one tomorrow morning because we were leaving for vacation. When the caller said they’d need a supervisor to call me back, I started to think maybe the call wasn’t legit.
This was a prime example of how we get caught. Credit card fraud is a major problem that’s hit just about everyone in the world. A call like that is no surprise. When I took a deep breath, I hung up the phone, went online to my bank, and looked at my account. There were no pending charges from either place. Had I stayed on the phone call, well, I don’t want to think about it.
One problem with phone calls today is that even if you see a symbol, such as a checkmark (√) or a V in parentheses (V), it may be a spoof. It’s easy to spoof any phone number, so don’t believe it is legitimate because you see a symbol. We don’t pay attention to possible pitfalls when we’re rushing to get things done before a vacation or a business trip. We need to take a deep breath and step back before we act. Otherwise, we could come back to empty bank accounts.
One of our clients almost made a similar mistake when they got a text message about an ambulance bill. The client had gone to an urgent care, and doctors there determined they should be taken by ambulance to the emergency room. The text said their insurance carrier had declined the claim, and there was a link they could use to pay the bill. After staring at the text – after almost clicking the link to see what was going on, they looked on their carrier’s website and found no mention of the ambulance ride. The really scary part is how someone knew our client had an ambulance ride from a specific company on a particular date.
If you do make a mistake, you should call your credit company’s or bank’s fraud line and report it immediately. If you can’t get through, go online through your browser and file a report. You can usually block action on your credit card with the click of a button.
If you fear a breach, you can call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us for help. We can start to put the pieces of your puzzle together to see where your system may have been breached through your computer or mobile device and help you rebuild your security system.