Beware of Robo-Call Scams

While out for an evening with friends talking about everything under the sun, including security, which I’m obsessed with – and people often quiz me anyways, my mobile rang from an “unknown” number. The caller, a computer, stated “Hello, this is a call from Eastern Bank. Your MasterCard account has been locked. Please press 1 now to unlock.” Eastern Bank is local to me.

This is hilarious because I don’t have an Eastern Bank account and I’m in the middle of a conversation with someone about identity theft. So I immediately put my phone on speaker and played the message for everyone who proceeds to look at me and then ask “whats wrong with your Mastercard?” While I’m laughing at the call, they are concerned about my card, not initially realizing this is a scam. No longer funny, this saddens me because these are intelligent people who could easily get bit by this crime.

So I had to explain that this is a “Robo-call scam” where scammers simply use free technology to call thousands of random people by telling a computer to call 555-1212 then 555-1213 in sequential order. Eventually someone is going to press 1 and enter all their credit card information and end up being compromised

I did a little research and Eastern Bank posted this warning that anyone from any bank should heed:

Notice of Fraudulent Phone Calls
Eastern Bank has been made aware that customers, as well as non-customers, are receiving automated calls on their cell phones with the following message:

“This is a call from Eastern Bank. Your MasterCard account has been locked. Please press 1 now to unlock.”

The recording then instructs the individual to enter their debit card number. There may also be a variation of this phone call that references other banks or asks the customer to enter their debit card number in order to activate it.

Please hang up and do not press 1.

Please be advised that these calls are a scam and are not being made by Eastern Bank.  This is a phishing attempt by criminals to obtain your personal account information.  Never provide your debit card number or any other private information in response to an unsolicited phone call or email.

REMEMBER: Eastern Bank will NEVER ask you for any private information (such as account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers) through an unsolicited email or phone call.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures