This morning, my wife received a text message apparently from AT&T about additional international calling fees regarding “Number 5” (we'll keep the owner’s number private with the family plan). The fees were $100 and ATT provided an option to upgrade to order to save money long-term with this option. The owner of Number 5 reflected on potential past calls and appears to have not done anything different with his phone these last few months from a domestic or international calling perspective.
In our minds, this situation generated a call to their customer service department. I was told by their automated system that my wait time was 2 minutes. You’re dealing with AT&T so who knows how many minutes you’ll be on hold – it turned out to be a dozen. My customer representative was Edgardo who was glad to assist.
Edgardo was not aware of that particular number according to his system, so I provided the number which allowed him to search deeper but he was unable to see any international call charges to that number. He also added for potentially more expensive international calls, the client would not receive such a text for this scenario. What is he saying? I’m beginning to wonder if this text message was legit so I offered to send him a screenshot for their records. (If this is illegitimate, I’m certainly not the only person being affected so ultimately, having a screenshot in this scenario would be a win-win.) Unfortunately, Edgardo said his department is unable to accept incoming emails. I’m thinking, “What about another department that investigates potential fraud?” No inclination from him that there’s such a department. He suggested I take it to a store…so all the work is on me to fix a potential issue with ATT.
Getting back to Number 5 and being fully transparent, he consistently makes international calls once or twice per month, sometimes more, especially during special occasions and holidays. He does the same process as he’s already done and uses the same free programs as a budgetary hedge. He just doesn’t understand where the additional $100 came from? And at this point, no one appears to know.
If Edgardo doesn’t have the correct information, then the text message may be legitimate. If it is, then why is he unable to see the same charges on our forthcoming bill? All bills for November, December, and January billing periods have the same charge so will this supposed $100 fee will be forthcoming? Maybe there’s lag-time between what he can see and the other system that generated that text earlier today? That’s the only conclusion I have in this situation where the text message is indeed legitimate.
During the call, Edgardo asked for my mobile number in case we get disconnected. They are unable to see the number you’re calling from? Anyway, the next morning, I get a text message from an unknown number saying ‘Winner CID #1111111111. Thank you for being an ATT customer. A number I certainly don’t recognize. It’s odd that less than 24 hours after my wife receives this initial text, I receive a text stating that I won something -- just to be sure, a domain name that I will not click on (if you copy and paste into an address field, it yields nothing.) Is this communication based on my call to ATT or my personal number I gave to Edgardo yesterday? Or maybe it’s just random and a very strong coincidence? Either way, this is one text that I will try to avoid moving forward.