Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Beware... these criminals are phishing now! Never reveal your alarm codeword

Here's some advice from our neighborhood watch:

Beware of Telephone Scams/Cons - NEVER divulge alarm or personal details!
Following the reporting of various incidents listed below, note that you should never provide the password of your burglar alarm/armed response system to anyone over the telephone unless you are absolutely certain that your alarm has triggered and you are therefore expecting a call from the response control call centre. This caution should be made known to all family members and any others who have been provided with your password. If ever you are concerned that your password has been given to someone who should no longer be in possession of the information (example - former employee) then arrange to change the password immediately via the correct channels at your service provider. Never provide your ID number of other confidential details over the telephone to anyone.

Case 1 - This evening I received a telephone call from 'my alarm company' at 22:24 saying that my alarm had just gone off and asking for my codeword in order, I presume, to cancel armed response. I was suspicious as my alarm was not yet set, but the lady 'controller' confirmed that she had received an alarm notification and repeated that she wanted my codeword. I asked when the alarm had been triggered and she said right now at 10:24pm. I refused to provide my codeword as the circumstances did not appear to warrant it. She said Ok and hung up. I then checked with the Security control room to find out whether they had in fact called. The controller asked all her colleagues in the control room whether or not they had called me, either in my own right, or as keyholder for a neighbour. She confirmed that no one in the control room had initiated the call to me. This is worrying as it would indicate that persons unknown are trying to 'Phish' for the codewords of the unwary and as I have an unlisted number, this is particularly disconcerting. I can only imagine that knowledge of this information would allow these persons to break into one's house, set off the alarm, then provide the necessary codeword to prevent armed response from responding.

Case 2 - My daughter, 20 years old, was phoned by a lady stating that this was "a courtesy call from ?? Bank". The caller had my daughters details - initials, surname, address, but asked her for her ID number - which she very willingly gave. Fortunately she was not asked to give any of her banking/card details. I immediately contacted the Bank where she has her account who verified that to their knowledge my daughter had not been telephonically contacted. They also apparently do not ask for ID details over the phone. Who knows what implications this will have in the future. Someone now has my all my daughters details and ID number illegally obtained. Scary situation.

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