I’m going to tell you a story about how my Verizon account was hacked by some very creative scammers. This is the craziest story and I still can’t believe what happened. I’ll share my story along with some tips to keep this from happening to you with your cell phone provider.
One afternoon while I was busy running some errands, I got a call from a local number. When I answered the phone it was a recording letting me know that my Verizon account was set to be shut off due to lack of payment, press 1 to speak with an agent. I was in a hurry and distracted and knew that I had paid my bill so I pressed 1 ready to tell them they had made a mistake.
I was then transferred who a man who proceeded to tell me that my account was actually being suspended because of fraudulent activity on my account. Who proceeds to tell me that someone from New York ordered an iPhone using my account and that he is there to assist me in cancelling this order. I’m telling you this guy was convincing in his sincerity.
Here is where things got weird, as if someone from New York ordering a phone on my account wasn’t weird enough. The man then proceeds to tell me that they are texting me a verification code and that he needs this code to verify my account. I look at my messages and sure enough I have a code. Along with that code is the following message:
“Your Verizon one-time password is ——-. Remember, never share your password with anyone. Verizon will never contact you to ask you for it. Didn’t make this request? Call us at 1.800.922.0204.”
When I read that message I immediately knew this so-called Verizon rep was full of shit so I hung up on him. I stopped everything I was doing and called Verizon directly.
Sure enough my account had been hacked and they had purchased an iPhone and Air Pods that were due to be shipped overnight to someone in New York. The real Verizon rep walked me through the process of securing my account and attempted to cancel the order. I thought that was the end of it.
The next morning I get the following text:
“Free Verizon Msg: The package you have received is now deemed property of Verizon Wireless. FedEx has been notified and a representative will be dispatched to PICKUP the package on 10/10/2019, between 1 PM and 5 PM. To confirm, please text YES.”
Ummm….what?? I thought the order had been cancelled. Sure enough about 30 minutes later Fedex dropped off a package from Verizon. The good news is, the iPhone got to me and NOT the scammers. The bad news is this saga was far from over.
A few minutes later I get a call from “Verizon” letting me know that they will be sending someone to pick up the phone later that afternoon. At this point I am pissed. I proceed to tell them that they are not to send someone to my house and that I will handle the return of the phone myself.
I call the real Verizon back AGAIN to let them know that I got the phone and I haven’t opened the package and want to return it immediately. The email me a UPS shipping label and I send the phone back via UPS.
Now here is where it gets really funny. Later that afternoon a FedEx guy comes to my house and says he is here to pick up a package. I proceed to tell the FedEx guy my crazy story and ask if I can see the shipping label. He says, “Sure you can have it and I’ll put in my notes that you refused shipment.”
The shipping label was addressed to myself to an address in Miami, FL. When I Googled the address it brought up a shady shipping company with reviews that are identical to my story.
The story basically ended with the phone being back in Verizon’s hands and Verizon removed any billing related to this scam.
Here are my tips to avoid this scam:
- Verizon will not be calling from a local number. That should have been my first red flag right there.
- Verizon will not ask for any one time password codes. Don’t give those codes to ANYONE.
- Change the passwords to all of your account frequently and use strong passwords.
- Call your cell phone provider directly if you believe you have been scammed.
- Enabled any spam blockers your cell phone providers have available.
Best of luck to you all. Have you ever been scammed like this?