I used to get calls all the time from “cardholder services”. From what I gathered, it’s basically a scam where they charge you and then call up your credit card company to ask for a lower rate. Apparently, people who went in for this had their cards billed for thousands. I’ve asked them repeatedly to remove me from their list to no avail. Here’s how I finally got them to stop calling.
First I pressed “1” for a live operator. Now to fuck with them and remain consistent, I made up a cheat sheet in advance. On it I wrote a fake credit card number, an expiration date, a fake “card not present” number, a fake SSN, fake balance, etc. They require you to have at least $3000 in debt and at least $2500 in available credit on at least one card to cover their fees.
One thing they ask for is the customer service number for the card so they can call your bank, which they do while you are on hold. So, I used this page of bank ID numbers when making my fake credit card number, and I also googled my chosen bank’s customer service number (I picked Wachovia). Also I rigged the number to validate by the Luhn algorithm in case their systems check for that. This way we have a very plausible but totally fake credit card number which will hopefully pass any initial consistency checking they may do.
So I put this cheat sheet by the phone and waited for the call. Within a few hours, they called.
I answer their questions. First they ask about my debt. I tell them $9000 across two cards. I mention my “Wachovia Mastercard”. They acknowledge knowingly and ask me to “verify” the card number “starting with the 5” thus suggesting they already know the card number. All Mastercards start with 5. I give them the fake number. They ask me to “verify” the expiration date. I give them the fake date. They ask for the customer service number on the back of the card. I give them Wahovia’s number. They put me on hold for five minutes to call up Wachovia and negotiate me a lower rate.
“Wachovia says it’s an invalid number. Can you re-read your card number?” I re-read the same number. They put me on hold again for several minutes. This repeats again. I reassure them that card is valid, that I just used it an hour or so ago, etc. They try again. They get a supervisor. He tries. It keeps coming back invalid. I waste forty five minutes of at least two people’s time. Finally, as they apologize for not being able to help me, I calmly explain my ruse. What followed was a string of obscenities that even made my dog gag, followed by them abruptly hanging up.
And they haven’t called me since.