Sophisticated Spam Call at 10:47 pm

by on July 12, 2021 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach

The Widow Curry with a warning

By Judi Curry

SCENARIO:  Household sound asleep on a Saturday night. The telephone rings at 10:47pm.  A woman’s voice says, “May I speak to Judith Curry please.  This is the fraud unit of Target credit card and we have detected a fraud billing of $475 on her account.”

“This is Judith.”

“I am so sorry to wake you up but we have detected a $475 on your Target account for pharmacy items.  Have you shopped the pharmacy at Target recently?”


“Have you made a $475 purchase at Target at all?”


“Do you know where your credit card is?”


“We are going to stop all activities on your card and issue you a new one. Just to make sure that our records are correct, what is your date of birth.”

(First dumb response –  I told her.)

“You sound so much younger than your age indicates.”

“I just came from a party with my 18 grandchildren. Believe me I am that old.”

“Are you sure you know where your card is? I’ll hold on if you want to check – or I will be here for another 15 minutes. You can check and call me back.  My name is Jennifer Cooks, and my phone number is 917-701-08xx”.

“Why don’t you just hold on and I will check it out.”

(I am just beginning to really wake up.  Went to get my purse and check out my credit cards only to realize that I don’t have a Target credit card.)

“I don’t have a Target card”, I said.

“Oh, you misunderstood me.  What I said was that your CHASE credit card was used at the Target Pharmacy in a $475 purchase. Do you have your Chase or American Express card?”

At that moment I realized what a scam this was and I hung up. In seconds the phone began to ring again.  I did not answer it, and took it off the hook – yes, my land-line – so as not to be bothered again. After all, it was now 11:20 pm.

I am usually not so gullible, but “Jennifer” sounded so sincere it would have been easy to fall for the ploy IF I had a Target card.

Just a reminder to others – don’t give out any information to anyone on the phone.  If you think the call is legitimate, call back the company on a known line – not the line the caller gives you.  There are too many unscrupulous people out there just waiting for the opportunity to take advantage of trusting individuals.  And besides – I hate being woken up from a sound sleep!!!



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Judi Curry July 12, 2021 at 12:19 pm

Tried to see who is registered to the number but came up with a dead end.


Angie M Watts July 12, 2021 at 3:54 pm

I had a legitimate fraud alert on my credit card and my bank called me. Kept telling me NOT to tell them any personal info, and I STILL called back.
These scammers are getting good.

Except the really, really bad ones?


retired botanist July 13, 2021 at 5:27 pm

Nope. For those of us who still have landlines: Don’t EVER answer. If its legit, like a doc’s office # you don’t recognize, you’ll call them back if they leave a VM. If they don’t leave a VM, its over. Get out of the habit of getting up from a nap or other to see who’s calling, if its family you’ll know.


sealintheSelkirks July 14, 2021 at 11:27 am

Yep, they are definitely getting very polished at what they are doing. Do they take a course in conversational phone rip-offing?

Had something similar happen with an inherited ‘mineral rights’ claim recently. It was a woman but with a very pronounced southern accent who was a representative of a ‘large firm’ interested in acquiring the properties. Very chatty, very bright and bubbly, very personable, knew all about the properties obviously as she had the land tract & plot designations. Said all she needed was the ‘ownership numbers’ of the properties in question so that her company could reference the exact information about them and they would then send me a bid on them, pay the closing costs, all taxes that were due, etc etc.

Give them my personal ownership numbers? Hmmmm. Told her I didn’t have them at hand and are not readily available and she was just fine with that and could she give me a call back when I found them for her? Oh sure I will!

She played phone tag for more than three weeks. In the meantime I had another offer come in the mail from a legitimate company for the properties who seemed to have had no problem accessing all the information they needed. Without any personal numbers. Hmmmm again!

The woman also lost her southern accent somewhere along the way which was pretty funny as I guess she forgot that’s what she started out using on me, and finally stopped leaving messages on the answering machine (I only have a land line but no caller ID etc etc) about a month later. Persistent, too! Like hell I was going to give her personal identification numbers but I wasn’t awakened from sleep like you were, Judy.

I figured that by wasting her time for weeks I might have saved someone from being ripped off as she left long messages which took up her time. HA!



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