identity theftEvery day for two weeks we’ve gotten at least one call purporting to be from Citibank regarding our credit card. It’s one of those robot calls, with no one on the other end of the line, but providing a toll-free number to call about our account. Immediately, if not sooner.

In a momentary lapse of sanity, Joy called that number and gave out her Social Security number and birth date. After telling her she was being transferred, the line went dead. Uh, oh.

Don’t let this happen to you, as the hair-loss ads say. There’s a website:, where you can check the phone number of any real person or business who called you. We checked and, lo and behold, the robot’s number wasn’t a Citibank number.

Of course we also called the number on the back of our credit card and they told us that Citibank had not called us. In fact, they said, they’ve started a police investigation. It’s about time. We saw complaints from four years ago. Wake up, Citibank.  Bottom line: if in doubt, call the number on the back of your card instead of the one in your voice mail and don’t give out excess info.

Now, there’s an interesting footnote to this: If you Google the phone number or type a query about Citibank requests for your social security number, you get a whole lot of comments from people saying: “This is a total fake,” “a con,” etc. But even more interesting was a comment from someone saying “I thought this was a scam but I called Citibank and they confirmed that they had been calling.” So, even the bad guys get on the web to tell people everything is really okay; it’s not.

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