Add a teaspoon of caution
I received a phonecall last night.
Immediately my suspicions [but only my suspicions] were aroused. The call was purportedly from my bank. There were four things that made me suspicious. Firstly it was a cold call.from an Oriental sounding female. Secondly it was seven in the evening when banks should be shut. Thirdly, yesterday was a bank holiday where the banks by definition are on holiday [i.e. definitely shut] and finally she was asking questions about my account without giving any confirmation from her end. I hung up on her.
Shortly after, I got an SMS message saying there was suspicious activity on my bank account and could I give them a call, please. They kindly provided a number to call.
At this stage my anti-phishing defenses were on full alert. Something was going on and it stank.
First of all I did a search on the Interwebs for the number the SMS had provided. Curiously it was indeed a number for the fraud section of my bank. Nevertheless I went into my banks website, checking its security certificate in the process and went into the fraud section. There was a ream of information there about the massive number of frauds currently being attempted via SMS and cold calls. It said if I was suspicious, to phone them immediately.
I phoned the bank [at half seven on a bank holiday!] and went through the usual recorded messages and horrible musack [“Our lines are very busy at the moment – please hold”]. Eventually a woman answered my call. I told her my suspicions and she agreed I was right to be cautious. However she did say my account had a red flag on it and the call had probably been genuine. I guessed the the “suspicious transaction” was probably the large payment for the furniture, but in fact I was wrong. For some reason they were worried abut a small payment I had made to a domain registrar. The had blocked my card just in case.
To cut a long story longer, I told her the payment was genuine and she unblocked my card.
I was sort of impressed. It was reassuring that the bank was monitoring my card for unusual payments but a little concerning that they were blocking my card.
I suppose it’s better to err on the side of caution.
You have to have a modicum of sympathy for the banks on this one, despite billions of perfectly good transactions annually, they’re dragged over the media coals when the odd one proves to be a rogue. No matter how smart their software is, detecting frauds must be needle in a haystack territory.
Fortunately you were smart/lucky enough to have adequate remaining marbles to respond sensibly, not everyone is so alert, thus the occasional fraud happens – and the fraudsters only need to get lucky occasionally for it to pay off, the banks need to be lucky all the time to stop it.
What amused me about the whole ffair was that it was a small transaction they were querying, while they were quite happy to see me transferring four figure sums at the same time. I would have expected the latter to ring the alarm bells and not the other one.
A total aside.
Sometime recently the picture of a man in your header has changed from that of a rather grumpy cartoon like bearded character to that of an imperious looking wise elder of the mountains. Also with beard. The man, not the mountains.
Does the change reflect a change in your attitude to life, the universe and everything. Just curious.
And talking of universe, you must sometimes, when the rain stops and the mist clears have a wonderful view of the night sky, without reflected street lamp masking.
That little image is quite impressive in that it is an AI one. I put in a little description of myself and that’s what popped up. The only crib I have is that it has a “man bun” that I wouldn’t be seen dead wearing and the forehead is a bit wrong. Apart from that it’s reasonable likeness.
Unfortunately my view of the night sky is somewhat restricted by all the trees around the place, leaving me with a relatively narrow view. That would normally be very impressive for an astronomer apart from a light I have mounted over the back door. That’s supposed to have a motion detector but somehow it got stuck in the “on” mode so it has now been on permanently for the last six or seven months. It’s very bright and floodlights the whole area. I haven’t bothered fixing it as it’s quite a good security feature.
Thank you for replying.
Obviously you did not enter “Miserable auld bearded Irish git.” Into AI. What ever that is.
The true test would be for your grand daughter to see it and cry out “Grampa” and Penny to leap on it, slobbering.
The Grandkids usually run away when they see me coming.
All my cards have the bank’s helpline number on the back, no need to search for it online.
This has been a public service announcement from your helpful grumpy old git.
“All my cards”? Good grief! How many do you have? I only have the one and it only has the general phone number.
One debit card, four credit cards. The extra credit cards come in handy for those rare occasions when “computer says ‘NO'” and my regular card is declined.
Those credit cards are dangerous yokes. I avoid ’em like the plague. If machine says NO then I just ask for credit [usually refused].
A credit card is a tool. I use them to avoid carrying loads of cash and I pay the full amount every month by direct debit. They only become yokes if you use them to pay for stuff you can’t afford. When computer says NO it’s always a computer problem.