What Should You Do If You Get an Automated Phone Call Saying Your Credit Card Has Been Fraudulently Breached?

Normally when we answer the phone during the supper hour it is

  • a duct cleaning ad, even though we are on the do not call registry,
  • one of our children’s schools with an important message like next week is March Break (do any parents really not know this?),
  • a real estate agent offering to sell our house so they can get a huge commission, even though we are on the do not call registry and they have just guaranteed we will never use their business, or
  • a newspaper trying to get us to subscribe.

So last night’s call was a new one. An automated voice claimed that my husband’s credit card security had been breached and his card might be used for fraudulent purchases. It directed him to call a 1-866 number immediately.

Never Call Any Phone Number About Your Credit Card Without Proof of Who Will Answer at the Other End

Colour me skeptical. If it really was CIBC MasterCard phoning why didn’t they have a human being on the line?

An online search of the CIBC and the CIBC MasterCard websites did not find a listing for the give toll-free number.

If we had just phoned the number and provided information about ourselves and our account we could easily have been giving someone more information that they could use to commit fraud.


What Should You Do When You Want to Talk to Your Bank about Your Credit Card?

So instead of phoning the unknown number, we called the main CIBC MasterCard line as listed on the back of the card and on our monthly statement. It meant we had to wait on hold for a surprisingly long time but that’s why speakerphones were invented. (Isn’t it?)

Was Our Credit Card at Risk?

Strangely enough, it turned out that the card really was at risk. CIBC MasterCard was actually using an automated message to call an unlisted number. Frankly, it doesn’t seem like a great plan on their part. Even though the customer would have been safe THIS TIME it’s teaching their clients to go ahead and call anyone who leaves a message robotically.

Not a practice I would encourage!

How Was the Credit Card Breached?

Apparently the problem relates back to the old Home Depot Credit Card information theft. We’ve had credit monitoring on the card for months but the card was not actually replaced until now. I don’t know if MasterCard spotted a transaction that seemed odd, if they spotted the card number for sale in an online auction, or if they have just started replacing all cards used at Home Depot during the dangerous interval. They didn’t say.

When You’re Getting a New Replacement Credit Card What Should You Do to Increase Security?

We’ll be picking up the new card at our local bank branch. Given the high security levels on Super Mailboxes and even on regular Canada Post home mailboxes, it makes more sense. When you pick up your credit card at the bank, you have to provide photo id and regular id, even if you are a customer that they know by sight. And until you do arrive to pick it up, it’s safely in the vault.

Would I Just Call the Toll Free Number Next Time?

I still would only phone a known number to contact a credit card issuer. There are just too many scams to trust any phone call that comes in from an unknown source.


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How many times a week do you get told your PayPal account (which you don’t have) has been disabled, your bank needs you to re-enter your id and PIN number online, or your credit card information has expired and needs to be updated? How many free cruises, vacations, cars and cottages have you won? Do you sometimes wonder if email and telephones are actually more trouble than they’re worth? Please share your scam alerts with a comment.

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