Actually, No.

No, I will not give you my credit card number.

Adrienne received a voicemail today, from Citibank, stating that we should call the fraud department, and they left a 1-800 number. She relayed the message to me by IM, and I called them. This is a rough transcript of the phone call:

[Hold music, thanks for calling Citibank, etc.]
Citibank: Hi, this is XXX, you’ve reached the Citibank Fraud Department, can you please provide your account number or card number?
Jeremy Cole: Uh, right. You need my card number?
CB: Yes, we need your account details.
JC: Uh, Hmm. This number was left on my wife’s voicemail, which she relayed to me.
CB: Yes, this is the fraud department, we need your account information.
[Continues]
JC: So, you leave a voicemail, with a random 1-800 number I’ve never seen and can’t verify, and the first thing you ask me for is my account information. Right. Can I get to this same department by calling the number on the back of my card?
CB: Hmm, uh, yes.
JC: OK, I will do that, then. Goodbye!

How stupid can Citibank be? I mean really. Let’s look at this from the (rightly) paranoid viewpoint: Anyone could leave a voicemail on a random person’s phone, claiming to be Citibank, and ask them to call a 1-800 number. They likely get the person’s name from the voicemail message. They could even record the hold music and messages by calling the real fraud department and recording theirs. If they wanted to be really good, they could record call-center sounds and play them in the background while they talk to you.

And the first thing they ask you for is your credit card number. Stupid.

What Citibank’s fraud department should do is leave you a voicemail asking you to call the number on the back of your card. That makes it easy to verify that it really is Citibank. If they want it to be more convenient for the customer, then they should get themselves assigned a main-menu option from that number. “Please call the number on the back of your Citibank card, and press option 8, for the fraud department.”

I am working on filing a complaint with them about their stupid self-defeating fraud department.

6 thoughts on “Actually, No.

  1. Hey Jeremy,

    That sounds like straight-up phishing. I would be very suprised to hear that that’s their real process. You should never have to give them your number. The conversation should have a two-way challenge, in other words they should have to prove who they are too.

  2. I moved most of my $ from Citibank into a Vanguard Money Market because the rate of return was dramatically better.

    Recently Citi started a high-yield savings account that pays 3.25% – but I was told that I couldn’t convert my MM to high-yield, but instead had to open a high-yield account online which also open a second checking account that I could subsequently close. That didn’t work because I don’t hold a US driver’s license.

    So essentially Citi tries to discourage its customers from getting competitive returns on their savings.

  3. Actually, it is their process. It really was them calling me. They wanted to verify some charges that I had made, since I tripped their magical fraud detector by paying bills.

    Amazing.

  4. jcole’s weblog » Blog Archive » Reply from Citibank

  5. Nine years later, the Citibank’s fraud department is still self-defeating – Jeremy Cole

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