When you search for businesses on Google and something shows up on the Places result, you usually see a phone number there. Since it’s supposedly a “verified” business, you trust that that number is correct and just call it directly from your phone. If it’s the wrong business, the worst that can happen is that you get a wrong number. But apparently, scammers are now using this method to scam people out of their money, as some people have experienced in India and maybe even elsewhere.
One person shared their unfortunate experience, which is a combination of this new kind of innovative scam and also a bit of stupidity on the person’s part. He searched for his bank’s local branch on Google and got the usual card with the details like address, opening hours, and of course the phone number. He called it to report a failed online transaction and someone answered and pretended to be from the bank.
You can guess what happened next. The pretend bank account officer asked for his card number and CVV. Most of us know that a bank would never ask for the CVV as that’s a known security measure. But either this person didn’t know that or he was too eager to fix his transaction problem that he ended up giving the details. And of course, he ended up losing the entire amount in his account.
One of the reasons why scammers are using this method is because it’s pretty easy for people to claim businesses on Google and there is very little or almost no verification process. They’re also taking advantage of the fact that people will just choose to call from the card rather than go to the official website and verify that that is indeed the phone number.
So the lesson here is obvious: make sure that the business you’re calling is the real one and you can of course do that by going to the official website. And make sure that is the real website too of course. And also, remember that you should not give the CVV of your card to anyone, even someone who claims they’re from your bank.