OT Scam or no scam

OT
Sunday night I signed up for an international long distance service, for which one pays in advance. It had been recommended, but that was from someone in a different city, and since they had a trial offer, I tried that first.
They offerred me a free dollar's worth of calls, but wanted my credit card info, to convince them I really had a credit card (debit card). They said they would take a very small amount out of my account, and late sunday night I got an email that a penny had been removed. (I always get an email if money is spent without my using the actual plastic card.)
I made a couple calls and and although I only got an answering machine at one and voice mail at the other, I was happy with everything so late last night I added $5 to my account. I didn't have to give them the credit card because they already had it.
At 8 this morning I get a call from someone whom I could barely understand, who said he was from International Calling, or some 2nd word. This isnt' the company I dealt with, but that one was indeed about international calling, so I'm thinking just as they buy their phone minutes from someone else, maybe they have someone else do their billing. He wanted to know how much money I had spent, the last 4 digits of my SSN, and the expiration date on my credit card. I considered asking him the amount, but instead I told him, $5 (How can that hurt me?) and I couldnt' figure out how the other two factoids could hurt me either, but I wouldnt' tell him. I told him the expiration date was the same one I filled in when I signed up for the phone service. (They hadn't asked my SSN or even the last 4 numbers, and I wouldn't have told them either.) I told him I don't know you, and I've spent a lot more money on the card than this without anyone calling me.
I figured the worst that could happen is I wouldn't have the $5 in my account and I'd have to rely on the $1. And if that ran out, I'd have to use Skype, like I have been for 6 months. (Usually phone quality is excellent, sometimes it's not. I want to go back to using a real phone, like a person. )
I asked if I could call him back, and he gave me an 800 number. Didn't give me his name. I googled the number and it is the company I signed up with 2 nights ago. Is this significant?
Two hours later, I get an email from the bank that my $5 went through.
So was he for real, or a thief? His accent was just the same as the two who claimed to be from Microsoft. I told one of them that he would make it so no one trusted people from his country. Of course, he was a thief so he didnt' care about his country either. (But maybe when he's old and complaining about the way the US treats his country, whatever it is, he'll remember that he played a part in that. )
Did they let the charge go through even though he was real and I refused to cooperate with him, because it was only $5. If so, why did they bother calling me in the first place? Why not just put the charge through and see if I complain. And I gave them my phone number (that way I don't have to enter a pin when I call from my house.). Can't they verify my phone number with the bank who issued my debit card? Will the bank do that? Will the bank at least confirm it's my number if a long distance phone companay tells them a name and phone number and debit card number and expiration date and the other three numbers, won' they at least confirm the phone number. So how could it not be me?
And it's not like it's a car, or jewelry. I can't return the phone calls and get money back, like people do with things they buy on stolen credit cards ? I can't fence the phone calls to people who want to call the same numbers I called. I don't remember if he knew my name.
How did he know about my charge with the long distance company so quickly, if he wasn't real?
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I will stop you right here and ask why in the world are you using a debit card? There is better fraud protection if you use a credit card, nd you hold onto your money until YOU say you want to pay the bill. If this is a scam (or something else is),you dispute that charge on your credit card and don't pay the disputed amount.
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On 8/11/2015 10:57 AM, taxed and spent wrote:

We've been through this before. "Most" debit cards offer the same protection that a credit card offers. The only difference is it may take 24 hours to get your money put back into your checking account.
My debit cars has a Master Card logo and offers the same exact protection as the credit card. It does not have to under the law so it is wise to check with your card issuer.
That said, I'd have use a CC anyway for something like that.
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On 8/11/2015 12:44 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

That's the problem, legally a debit card does not have to provide the same protection, some may claim to, but they don't have to.
I never understood the upside of a debit card. My Mastercard rebates 2% of my spending and this year it will be over $1000. Even for lesser amounts, why pass up this money unless the merchant is offering a cash discount?
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On 8/11/2015 7:57 AM, taxed and spent wrote:

One very useful feature that some credit cards offer is a "virtual credit card." You generate a number with a dollar limit and an expiration date. It's great for things where they charge you $1 to sign up but will bill your credit card automatically for renewals since they can't bill your credit card for renewals.
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In alt.home.repair, on Tue, 11 Aug 2015 10:43:02 -0400, micky

Well, I figured anyone could have the number of the company I dealt with, including the guy hacking the list of new customers, or the confederate of the employee giving him the list.
But I called the company and they asked me the very same questions** and the guy this morning really was legit. I expressed surpise that they valideated $5, and he didn't volunteer a reason, so I figured he didn't know, and I dropped the matter.
**Not the last 4 numbers of my SSN but of my charge card. I guess that's what the first guy said too. And he wanted to know the address I gave them.
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In alt.home.repair, on Tue, 11 Aug 2015 11:34:12 -0400, micky

And I thought I had paid once the bank emailed me, but it was still on hold at the phone company until I called them and told them the things they wanted to know, all of them things I had told them already.
It turns out there were at least two features I couldn't use until my $5 payment cleared. The absence of one feature made their webpage look different. The feature wasn't greyed out but totally missing, even though they had advertised it and I knew it should be there. Not a bad idea but one I've never seen before.
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On Tuesday, August 11, 2015 at 10:43:06 AM UTC-4, micky wrote:

I already can't figure out what's going on..... How could anyone here possibly know if some unknown company that you somehow hooked up with is real or a scam?
I also agree with the advice about using a credit card instead of a debit card. An even better idea is to use a credit card that allows you to create additional virtual credit cards via their website to use for any questionable transactions. You set a dollar limit and a time period for the new virtual CC, it gets generated instantly at the CC company website. With that, you could load it with $5 and that's all your new company could ever charge to that CC #.
Also, I sure wouldn't give a debit card number to any company that I couldn't check out on the web, see reviews from, know who they were, etc. There are plenty of legitimate low cost phone companies out there.
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Good job. I think you should give them more money to lock in those savings.
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wrote:

Why do that? You can pick up an international card for 5 bucks. My wife and MIL use them. Don't they sell them where you live?
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In alt.home.repair, on Tue, 11 Aug 2015 15:52:55 -0500, Vic Smith

I'm not interested in that because you have to put in the card number every time you make a call. This company gets my phone number from its caller ID** and I put their number in speed dial, so the only number I have to dial is what I'd have to dial anyhow. Numbers I call often I can store either in my phone or their system, so I might have to push as few as 4 or 5 buttons. And my cell phone doesn't charge extra for the US or Canada, but they do for international and I can use this service with them. too. Plus they are cheap to call where I call.
"Why do that?" Other than this one problem, they've been very easy to deal with, easier than having to buy a card each time one is empty.
And in a way they warned me about this morning. I finally came across this in the FAQ,
".... If your order requires a manual verification by a customer support representative, account activation will be delayed until your order has been verified and completed. Note: The manual review process generally takes fifteen minutes to one hour during our normal office hours" And I guess that's why they called at 8, the start of their normal office hours.
**I think there are a bunch of companies like this and many have the word pinless in their name.
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wrote:

Yeah. That is a PITA. Doesn't bother them though. It's really cheap.
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On 8/11/2015 3:35 PM, micky wrote:

OneSuite is pretty good and does the CallerID thing so there is no PIN and their international rates are good. Localphone has even better rates though there's a bit of overhead in setting it up but there are no PINs. Google Voice's international rates are also not too bad.
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