After listening to hundreds of telemarketing scams, I’m a little jaded. But I thought this scam was pretty clever. It’s a fake Verizon agent who is calling because of suspicious activity on our account. In order to research it further, he needs to verify our identity by telling him the PIN that he just sent to our phone.

In reality, he has gone to the Verizon “password reset” page and clicked the button to send a verification code to our mobile phone. If we give him the code, he can take over our account! He might also need our email address, but it’s not likely (he probably would have said it on the phone to “verify” it).

The scam is very convincing. Many companies use mobile texting to verify identity. And sometimes It involves a live agent. There are some obvious red flags in this call that will be obvious when you listen. But the most interesting of all is this guy’s patience! He spends 18 minutes speaking with three different robots trying to extract this PIN. Obviously a legitimate agent would have given up immediately.

Hopefully any company that allows account resets via text will include “do not give this code over the phone” or “only enter this code in the web site” or something like that. I can imagine that many people fall for this and it’s a shame. Please be careful out there!

By the way, do any of you recognize this guy’s accent?