Writers report the news, normally a journalist is not part of the news story. This is one of the exceptions. A cautionary tale for all.
The call seemed legitimate, the caller ID showed the number 866-433-5474. A professionally delivered recorded message told me that this was my airline credit card bank calling to let me know that there was a fraud alert placed on my card. I was told that my card had a temporary hold placed in its used.
Never give out a credit card number or any personal information to an unsolicited phone call no matter how legitimate it sounds. Always call back through normal channels. A legitimate call verifies your legitimacy by verifying answers on record, not be asking you to provide information.
Then the kicker on this call, in order to be connected to customer service, the full credit card number was required. If the card was not handy, a toll-free number that was provided to be called "as soon as possible."
Luckily, I smelled something phishy. If the credit card company was calling me, they didn't need my credit card number to for verification; they would have verified from other identification information with a customer service representative using other identification information.
Trying to reach a customer service representative pressing '0,' kept returning a message, "you must enter your credit card information."
I hung up and decided to call the bank directly. Grabbing my credit card, I called the toll-free number on the reverse, and noticed it was not the same as the number on the caller ID.
The customer service representative told me that the bank was aware of this phishing expedition, but had not yet been able to halt it. They told me what we all should know, "The bank will never ask you for your card number, PIN, or other personal identification information if we call."
Be careful, and always monitor credit reports.