Today is January 23, 2008. During the holiday season in 2007, I was contacted via cell phone from a number that listed on my caller ID as only a 4-digit number. Upon answering the call, the gentleman informed me that he was with the Social Security Administration and I would be receiving a $3000.00 rebate.
I was caught off guard by the call, and I began an inquiry of how I had been chosen, how my phone number had been obtained, and what funds I would be responsible for to receive this rebate of $3000.00.
The gentleman assured me that I would not be required to pay any fees, that the refund was to be paid to me as a result of my paying into social security. Each time I would ask a question, he would interrupt me mid-sentence by stating the amount of $3000.00 and that it I would be given a confirmation number to take to my bank to allow me to withdraw the funds after 3:00 p.m. that day.
The gentleman informed me that he would be transferring my call to a representative who would need to verify my information, I would then be given a confirmation number for withdrawal of the funds. He asked me to stay on the line after the verification was completed. He stated that there might be a period of silence, but instructed me not to hang up, as he would be back on the line quickly.
I was told that a list of questions would be posed to me and my responses would be recorded. I was asked for my account number, social security number, mother's maiden name, address, and phone number. As I said, I was caught off guard by the call, so I gave the information as the questions were asked.
Following the recorded information, I was given a confirmation number, experienced a brief period of silence and then the original gentleman came back on the line. I continued to ask him about the specifics of the rebate and if I would be charged any fee. He again assured me that the money would be available after 3:00 p.m. When I began to ask further questions, I was interrupted by the gentleman and the call was disconnected.
I was suspicious, so I immediately contacted my bank. They were aware of scams such as this, and they placed a hold on my account. After several days of no activity on my account, I had the hold removed.
I am continually monitoring my account. Weeks have gone by since I received the "rebate" call. I never attempted to retrieve the funds from my bank, as there had been no such $3000.00 rebate posted to my account.
I thought I had dodged this scam. As I stated earlier, today is January 23, 2008. Early this morning, I placed a call to make a debit card payment on my Son's braces. After giving my debit card number, I was told that the card had been declined. I had checked my balance online the previous day and knew that there had been sufficient funds to cover the transaction. I called my bank and was told that a withdrawal of $299.99 had been electronically sent through my account by NHS. The bank gave me the toll free number listed on the transaction.
I phoned "NHS." The individual answering the phone, answered "customer service." I asked what service they provided. They asked for my phone number. After looking up my phone number, the operator stated that I had joined their organization and approved them to withdraw funds from my account. I angrily informed the woman that I had not at any time given permission for any company to withdraw funds from my account, most definately not a company named "NHS." She then proceeded to inform me that they had a tape recorded authorization given by me over the phone.
The moment I heard the words, "tape recorded," I realized that the scam I thought I had dodged was now in effect.
El Paso, Texas