Recently, someone I know received a voicemail claiming to be from Bank of America stating that there was some suspicious activity on their ATM card. The voicemail suggested that the recipient call back at 844-585-0486 to speak with someone about the concern.

Knowing how rampant fraud is these days, we wanted to find out if that number was a genuine Bank of America number? And what better source to confirm that than Bank of America’s own web site, right? WRONG! We searched the web site, checked any page that said anything about fraud, plus all the “Contact Us” pages, but nowhere could be found this phone number that was given in the voicemail.

We did run across this page offering tips about avoiding scams and other fraud:

I draw your attention to where they suggest “Don’t trust caller ID or answer the phone calls from unknown numbers”. You’re going to laugh (it would be funny it it wasn’t true). Check this out:

It would be funny if it wasn’t true!

Yes, you read that right! Bank of America’s automated system leaves a voicemail when their called ID says “Unknown / unknown”, yet their own web site says we should never answer the phone under those conditions.

So, we get a call from an unknown number, and we’re told to call back a number that we can’t confirm is genuine. That sure seems phishy!!

Next, we call Bank of America’s main Customer Service number figuring someone there should be able to confirm the phone number for the Fraud Department callback. After waiting on hold for 15 minutes, getting hung up on, and waiting on hold for another 14 minutes, we finally reached Christian T. I asked him if he could confirm if the number we received was a valid Bank of America phone number. He put me on hold for another 5 minutes before he came back on the line and confirmed that the number 844-585-0486 is indeed a Bank of America phone number.

PHEW! What a relief!! At least we know that’s a good number.

I asked Christian if I could make a suggestion that Bank of America put that phone number onto their web site so other customers in a similar situation will be able to more readily confirm if the phone number they received is valid or not.

Well, apparently that was the wrong thing to suggest! Christian immediately went on a rant about how making that number public would make it easier for scammers and phishers to spoof that number and lull customers into a false sense of security when they receive calls that may look like they are coming from Bank of America. I told Christian that those scam calls are already happening with or without Bank of America’s publishing of this specific number. Scammers can already spoof the caller ID to say whatever they want, including “Bank of America / 800-432-1000” (a phone number a customer would more likely identify as a BoA number), so by hiding the number, they are only making it harder for customers to know if a callback number is safe or not!?!

When I tried to discuss this with him, he started a rant for like 40 continuous seconds (as if it was scripted) and refused to let me speak. I asked 5 or 6 times during this rant “Can I say something?”, but he just kept on speaking over me.

When I finally was allowed to continue the conversation, I told him I disagreed with his position, but that I had another question: “Why does your fraud department call customers with Unknown caller ID when your own security page says people should never answer the call when the caller ID is Unknown?”. He said he doesn’t know why that would happen and offered no solution or explanation.

Bank of America is just another huge corporation that is all about selling you stuff so they can make more of your money into their money, with little actual regard for taking care of customers they way they should! (I’m still waiting for a Supervisor to call me back after I asked to speak to one and Christian insisted one wasn’t available but would call me back within 24 hours!)