Today, I attempted to use my American Express card as a replacement for an old card that had expired. I entered the card info, hit “renew,” and was told it was declined.

Within a minute, I received an automated phone call from a toll-free number. The automated message stated (paraphrasing here) that this was the American Express Fraud Department and that I needed to call the 800 number to confirm card activity.

If I hadn’t just made the charge attempt, I think I wouldn’t have called… but in this case… I called and a person (with a very heavy accent) answered, said that this was American Express, and asked for my card number.

Now, I actually believe this was American Express. That being said, this same scenario is textbook scam.

How can you tell the difference? (Short answer is that I don’t know.)

I asked if the call agent was in the United States; he said he was in Bombay, India. He wouldn’t transfer me to the United States, so I thanked him and called the number on the back of my card.

The automated system couldn’t understand me (they never understand Yeni) and I was transferred to a call agent… in the Philippines. They also wouldn’t (or couldn’t) transfer me to a call center in the United States.

After a few more attempts I reached a call center in the USA… who was unable to get me to a fraud specialist outside of India.

At one point, I asked “Isn’t this American Express?”

He politely let me know that American Express was a global company, servicing many outside the United States.

I get it. I really get it — hell, I have many clients that operate call centers. There is only one reason to outsource a call center outside the United States. Money.

American Express has a duty to it’s shareholders… but then again… it’s a company that’s benefited greatly by the United States (again… it’s American Express). As a merchant, I know AmEx charges American businesses twice what other cards charge for processing a payment.

The least they can do is keep jobs here in the USA.

As for my card? It’s unresolved. AmEx says it’s for my security that I talk to someone in India. I say it’s not.