Around 3:00 PM, while I was chatting with some colleagues, I received a call from someone – 0916 616 7986. He introduced himself as someone from EastWest Bank and was asking if he could speak with me. Since I am practically not doing anything else, I gave him the chance to do so. He started by saying that he tried to reach me through my business phone number. Apparently, I am out of the office so he resorted to call me through my mobile number. He also said that the call was being recorded and that it was online. That is to make sure that the quality of service is monitored. I said that it’s fine as I am aware that call centers really do that. After which, he expressed the intention of his call. According to him, I will be issued with an “EastWest Gold Travel Card” or something like that.
For someone like me who likes to grab every opportunity to travel, the sound of “travel” and “gold” made me a bit excited to listen further. I asked him how come I will be issued with such without me applying for it. His reason for it was that it is not necessary to apply for it because they just give it as a complimentary card to those who are qualified.
He continued by saying thathe must verify my information to have the card delivered. While he already know my full name, he asked for it again just like what a typical customer service representative would do. Then he proceeded with my card number by saying the first seven digits and asking me for the next digits. I told him the entire card number. He asked how long have I been using my credit card and up to how much too. Then, he stated the date of my card’s expiration and I confirmed it. He asked if it is VISA and I said yes.
After verifying the details in front of the card, he told me to look for the three-digit number at the back of the card. He said that the number behind states the order of approved applications. So if the number there is 143, I am the 143rd approved person of a specific batch. This is where my biggest mistake happened. I told him the three digits that was printed at the back of my card.
Right after telling him the three digit number, I suddenly had some sort of epiphany. I suddenly realized that I just gave out my CVC or Card Verification Code. The three-digit number behind the card is used to verify ownership of the card when someone tries to buy things online. I am fully aware of this because I do online shopping myself. Only the card owner should know that number. Before realizing that the call is a scam, I have already given all my card’s details for him to fully use it without physically having it.
At that very moment, I dropped the call and ran to the nearest EastWest Bank. I had an adrenaline rush and thought that I should have kept him on line longer to make sure that he will not attempt to use my details yet. I called him back and told him that the line was choppy because I am on the road. He just didn’t know that I am on the road to go to the bank. The caller reminded me that the call is being recorded so I should avoid the line being cut. Since the last thing I said to him was the CVC, he asked if he heard the right number. Apparently, he did. I tried to confuse him by changing a digit. Then, I stopped talking but I did not drop the call. I was just buying some time until I get to the branch.
When I reached the bank, I went straight to the counter and told the teller that I have an emergency and that I want my card to be blocked immediately. I told her briefly what happened with a panicking tone. Who wouldn’t panic, anyway? The teller was trying to relax me and asked me to be seated but I couldn’t calm myself down that time. I was walking back and forth. On my mind, the scammer could have used my card already and I can’t imagine how much he could have bought with the card’s credit limit.
Just few seconds later, another banker approached me to assist me. She called for someone on the phone and expressed my concerns. She handed over the phone to me so that the person on the line can be authorized to block my card. She told me that the card has been successfully blocked. I asked her about the last transaction that was made with the card. To my biggest relief, the scammer was not able to use my card yet.
I am very grateful for the speedy action that EastWest Bank – Rada did. They said that they will just replace my card and have it delivered.
Believe me, it is difficult to immediately tell that the caller was a scammer. He knows my name, my office number, my mobile number, the first eight digits of my card number, the expiration date of my number, etc. I am just lucky that I know that the CVC number works like a pin code. But it only occurred to me after giving it away. Also, the banker told me that the first eight digits on your credit card number is a standard. Therefore, the scammer just used to appear like he has the entire card number when he really doesn’t.
Help me raise awareness on this kind of modus operandi. Share this on your Facebook page and tag away everyone you know who owns a credit card.
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