I got another call from an Indian credit-card scammer today. I had some time, so I decided to play along.

Before he asked me anything at all, he gave me the usual spiel: he has reviewed my credit card history and sees that I pay at least the minimum every month, sometimes more, but that I still can’t make much progress towards lowering my balance. All lies, of course; he’s not really looking at anything. But I agreed with everything he said, and gave him a fake credit-card expiration date and a fake phone number when he asked for each. And then he instructed me to read off my credit card number to him.

“I’m not reading my credit card information over the phone!” I told him. “The only people who would ask me for that are scammers!”

“I understand your concern, sir,” he replied. “So I will transfer you to MasterCard Card Services so that you do not have to enter your card number.” Well, that’s interesting. Go right ahead, my good man.

A few minutes later, a computerized female voice said: “Welcome to MasterCard. Please enter your card number.” Heh. I stalled it for a little while as I tried to pull up a fake credit-card number generator on my phone, but before I succeeded, it gave up on me and transferred me to a human being, a woman with an Indian accent, who said her name was Linda. She repeated the lie about looking at my account history and seeing that I make my payments on time, and then she asked me for my name, my phone number, the last four digits of my social security number, and my Zip code. (All of these I made up for her on the spot. Today I was “Scott Baker.”)

And then, of course, she asked me for my credit-card number. And again, I told her I was not going to read that over the phone because if she wasn’t a scammer then she should already have it. “Sir,” she replied, as if from a script. “I am not scamming you. If I were scamming you then I would have asked you for personal information such as your mother’s maiden name.”

“I won’t give out credit card information unless I’m the one initiating the call. What’s your company’s name and phone number?”

She said she was calling from MasterCard, and she me gave a phone number which turned up no search results when I searched for it. “When you are ready, call this number and ask for Linda,” she said.

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