A scam from Netspend.
Today, I received a credit card in the mail. Trouble is, I never asked for the credit card. I have enough credit cards and I certainly don’t want another one.
It was a Small Business prepaid MasterCard from Netspend, a company I had never heard of. The accompanying paperwork told me about the related fees for use but not much else.
I called the number on the card to ask what it was all about. I was prompted for a card number, my social security number — which I, of course, did not enter — and my date of birth — which I purposely entered incorrectly. I was then prompted to agree with terms of service by pressing 1. There was no person. Just a machine taking down whatever I entered.
I tried pressing 0 and various keys. The system eventually hung up on me.
I tried calling another number on the Netspend website. It threw me into the same automated queue.
I tried again, this time using the option that the card had been lost or stolen. A prompt warned me that that option was only for lost or stolen cards. I stuck with it. When prompted for my social security number again, I entered all zeros.
Eventually I got a real person on the phone. I asked her what the card was all about and she told me I’d accepted a mail offer. I told her I hadn’t and that I wouldn’t have. I told her I didn’t want the card and that I wanted it all record of it removed from my name, including from my credit report. She apologized for the “inconvenience.” I told her that it wasn’t an inconvenience. It was an invasion of my privacy. I told her that if I saw the card on my credit report when I checked it next month, Netspend would hear from my lawyer.
And then I hung up on her before she could do any more explaining or apologizing.
Is this a scam? Sure seems like it to me. Hand out a credit card, use a toll-free number to gather social security number and date of birth information. Even if it is legit, it’s an unwanted hit to a person’s credit report, possibly damaging to a credit score. And what if someone had intercepted it on its way to my mailbox? Would I be on the hook for someone else’s transactions?
Is this an indication that I’m an identity theft victim? Should I be calling the credit services now? Are there other cards with my name on them in the hands of other people?
Or am I just being paranoid?
These days, you never know — until it’s too late.