After being in the trading space for the past twenty years, I almost got scammed out of the assets in one of my accounts last night.
It started with a phone call from a number that I didn’t recognize; most of the time I just let these roll to voice mail as they are 99% telemarketers…but for some reason I answered it.
“Hello, this is Josh from xxxx exchange, we’ve seen some login attempts that don’t fit your normal pattern. Have you logged in recently from London?
“We sent you an email earlier today warning you about this potentially malicious login attempt, and haven’t heard from you so I’m calling tonight.”
“Would you like me to lock out your account for 24 hours?”
At this point my radar was not going off yet because this is exactly the type of phone call that I get from banks if there is a bogus transaction that hits the wire. I honestly thought that he was relaying along important information and I was concerned that someone had gotten into my trading account.
I did not see Josh’s email because it ended up in my spam folder. (Clue number one!)
When I checked the “from” address, I saw that it was from a .co domain extension, and not a .com extension. Again, this was odd but still not a major red flag.
At this point I told Josh, “OK, before I go ahead with this I need to know that you are who you say you are, so I know that you’re not trying to socially engineer me.”
Something was starting to smell off since he kept rushing through his responses and I had to ask him to slow down several times when asked for his name and the ticket number with the exchange. The final flag for me was when I hovered my mouse over a link in his email and it was going to send me to a strange-looking destination. Uh-oh. “Hey Josh, I’m not going to click on that link as I’m not sure where you are directing me.”
<click> Josh hung up.
Phew. I almost gave away the keys to the castle. I have no idea how my phone number and email address was compromised via this exchange. I immediately changed my password just to be sure, and will likely change my email address associated with this account.
The Bottom Line
This type of scenario is evidently a very big problem with online exchanges; a wily scammer can talk their way into a back door into your account, lock you out, and then transfer funds before you can do anything. From what I have heard, no exchange will reach out to you with this type of information; we are used to this with banks. Instead, they will text or email you and then YOU have to call back into the exchange/broker to authorize a security action.
In your corner……..Doc Severson
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