3C Contact Services (www.3CContactServices.com), North America’s premier cost-effective provider of contact center solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, is weighing in on the increasing threat of customer service scams, issuing a warning to consumers and businesses alike to beware.
A recent news report detailed a scam targeting consumers in which scam artists purchase toll-free phone numbers and pose as customer service representatives to obtain credit card information. (Source: “Scam alert: Secret shopper and fake customer service numbers,” WNDU News web site, September 17, 2015; http://www.wndu.com/home/headlines/Scam-alert-Secret-shopper-and-fake-customer-service-numbers-328009361.html.)
“It’s important that people understand how to tell the difference between legitimate customer service representatives and scams,” warns Damian Reyes, Customer Service Manager at 3C Contact Services. “Some of the methods these scam artists use can be quite convincing, so taking some precautions when dealing with customer service lines will help keep consumers safe.”
The scam artists fraudulently pose as a company and solicit consumers’ personal information over the phone, including credit card information and social insurance numbers. Not only can people be scammed out of large amounts of money, but their credit scores can be hurt as well.
“If customer service is asking for a consumer’s social insurance number, that is a sure sign that they may be dealing with a scam,” notes Reyes. “There are very few situations where a consumer should be giving that number out. Whenever they are asked for any personal information, consumers should immediately look for warning signs and not shy away from asking what the information is being used for and why it is needed.”
According to reports, these scams often call consumers directly on their phone, sometimes even mimicking the caller ID of reputable companies.
“If a consumer receives a phone call from a business that they weren’t expecting, they should not give out their credit card information,” advises Reyes. “It’s hard to know who’s really on the other end of the line. Even if a consumer thinks it is a reputable call, they should tell the representative that they’ll get back to them and then verify the phone number online. Know also that sometimes a false number can be off by only one number, so pay attention to every digit.”
However, Reyes warns consumers to only trust the company’s official site as a source for customer service numbers: “Scam artists have been known to place fraudulent ads online with fake phone numbers, so it’s wise to only trust a company’s official site,” says Reyes. “That’s the only way consumers can be sure they are dealing with a legitimate customer service line.”
Finally, consumers have noted that scammers can be forceful and convincing when requesting personal information.
“A real customer service representative will never pressure a consumer to give out information, so if a supposed representative is pressuring the consumer, that’s another sure sign that it’s time to hang up,” notes Reyes.
Reyes concludes by noting that the concerns stretch further than just the consumer though, warning businesses to ensure the companies they hire to handle their customer service lines are trustworthy and professional: “Businesses need to be alert to potential scammers posing as a representative of their company and take action when possible to stop these scams. Hiring a legitimate and experienced call center to handle customer service needs and ensuring that company hires professional representatives is the first step to ensuring customers feel safe when communicating with the business.”
3C Contact Services provides its partners’ agents with the necessary customer service skills needed to resolve a number of situations. For more information, visit www.3CContactServices.com.