citi phone number scam

Watch Out for Scammers when Calling Citibank Phone Numbers

We’ve all heard stories about scams through phone calls and emails. Usually the best way to make sure that you are talking to a real person from the company you want to reach is to hang up and call the correct number for that company.

But what if that number still leads you to a scammer? That’s what is being reported by one Citi credit cardholder who called the Citi number that’s on the back of the card.

The problem started after applying and being approved for a new Citi Custom Cash card. But after activating the card, it wasn’t showing in the Citi account. Tech issues are normal with Citi but it got strange when this redditor called the number on the back of the card to get help, 888-872-2214.

Normally when you call the number, you get a greeting from Citi, an option to proceed in Spanish. Then the automated system might confirm that your phone number matches one in a Citi account and it will ask you for the last four digits of your card number. But that not what happened in this case.

The way the conversation started should have been a red flag immediately. But it’s understandable to have your guard down when calling a number on the back of your credit card. 

The waiting message was something about entering to win a $100 gift card. The person that answered the phone then gathered personal information such as name, address, card number, expiration and CVV. Citi would never ask some of that information, especially the CVV. Then they gave the caller a few codes and said she needed to call the verification department at 800-373-3411. Again, I would expect Citi to be able to transfer the call. When calling that second number, it looked like it was Direct TV.

The caller hung up, and then called the main customer service number from the Citi website at, 800-950-5114. They took care of the original problem she had with the card not showing in the account online. But in the meantime, there was already a $3 unauthorized pending charge.

The caller explained the whole situation to the real Citi rep. And as expected, the Citi rep said that Citi would never ask for the card’s CVV code over the phone and suggested that she might have dialed 800 instead of 888, when calling the number from the back of the card. But the redditor posted a screenshot showing that the call was made to the correct number. Obviously that’s not 100% proof, but another commenter said that the same thing happened to him when calling a Citi card number. Then there’s this report of something similar happening when calling the number for the Kabbage checking account.

Guru’s Wrap-up

Is it possible that the wrong number was dialed? Yes! When I called the Citi Custom Cash number myself, it seemed to go through to Citi’s automated system correctly. I googled for similar scam reports with Citi and didn’t come across anything. I also reached out to Citi’s media team for comment.

This is something to keep in mind when calling credit card companies, or anyone else for that matter. Make sure you dial the right number, and if the call seems weird or they ask for too much information, then hang up and make sure you have called the right number. If they offer you a gift card when calling your credit card company, that should also be a red flag.

In this case, the call might have bee re-routed somehow. That’s the best explanation I have if the story is true. 

Let me know if you have had similar experiences in the past!



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