When Lucile Paden, 78, Lawrence, got a call from a salesman asking for her credit card number, she turned the questions around and asked for his telephone number instead.
She was answered with a click as the caller hung up.
Mary Tritsch, director of communications for the state attorney general's office, said Paden's call probably was fraudulent but, unfortunately, not uncommon.
A rule of thumb in dealing with callers asking for your digits is that if you didn't initiate the call, don't give out any information, Tritsch said. This includes credit card numbers, bank account numbers and birth dates.
"Know who they are, what it's for and what they're going to do with it," Tritsch said.
Paden's caller was trying to sell an expensive credit card security service, she said. He told Paden she needed to activate her service and asked for her credit card number to verify he had the right caller.
"That in itself was a little hokey," Paden said.
Although the caller may have been trying to sell a legitimate but pricey service, he was misleading, Paden said, and implied he was a representative of the credit card company.
But when she asked for a telephone number to verify he was for real, the caller hung up abruptly.
A correct number to verify a salesperson is the Better Business Bureau, at (785) 766-2009 or the attorney general's consumer protection service, at (800) 432-2310, Tritsch said.
Other tips for credit card protection include the basics: Keep the credit card in a safe place and report a stolen card right away.
And, Paden said, be on your toes.
"It's just a matter of informing people to beware of that kind of call because it's not quite what it appears to be," Paden said.