Photo: Willy D
At the end of June, I started receiving repeated phone calls from a caller that may or may not actually have been American Express. The phone number showing up on my caller ID matched American Express’s customer service phone number as shown on the American Express website (1-800-528-4800), but caller ID can be spoofed.
I never answered any of these calls. Most of the time, the caller did not leave a message. Sometimes, they would leave a nonsensical message that sounded like it was being read from a script. The message also made it sound like the caller didn't realize that they were talking to a voice mail service.
People occasionally make mistakes about whether they are talking to a person or voice mail, but three different callers made the same "mistake."
In addition to the strange and sporadic messages, I was suspicious of these calls because I was not an American Express card holder at the time. I had closed two accounts about a month earlier, so I didn't see what the company could legitimately want to talk to me about.
One message sounded something like this:
"My name is ____. I'm calling on behalf of American Express. May I please speak to Amy Fontinelle? (4-second pause) Amy Fontinelle please. On behalf of American Express I want to thank you for speaking to me. If you have any additional questions please contact us at the number on the back of the card. You have a nice evening."
There was no pause in the message after they said "Amy Fontinelle please." Also, I never spoke to them, so why did they thank me for speaking to them? It should be noted that all of the voice messages were from women who sounded unmistakably American--I don't think there was a language barrier problem.
Another message sounded something like this:
Hello this is ____ calling on behalf of American Express on a recorded line may I speak with Amy Fontinelle. (2-second pause) On behalf of American Express I want to thank you for speaking with me today. If you have any additional questions you may contact us at the number on the back of the card and have a good day.
I'm not sure what a recorded line is.
The calls eventually stopped, and I never found out what they wanted. I didn't contact American Express about these phone calls because, well, why would I subject myself to a customer service phone call if I could avoid it?
Have you received any phone calls like this?