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Made a large purchase order on a site with a safe Norton rating and A+ BBB rating. Noticed I put the wrong shipping address, called the number on the site, and I got the order canceled and received an email, however, I was debited the amount and I have the following line item on my rolling bank statement:

JAN 27  Hold: Payee Name: PRE AUT **** (REDACTED STORE NAME) ; Reason: ******   $500.00

* = redacted random positive integer

I was told by the person on the phone that the hold should release within 48 hours, so did my banker. However, shortly after this, I received an email from "noreply@enfactnotifications.com" with the details of my order requesting that I call the provided number to make sure the transaction was authorized by me:

Cropped image of fraud protection alert

My banker mentioned that "Unfortunately we are unable to do anything about the pre authorization on your account for that amount. It is planned to either hard post to your account or fall off of your account on Monday." This is what has me worried, in light of the fact that I received what appears to be a phishing attempt shortly after I made a purchase and then canceled over the phone. How can I force non-payment to the vendor given my reservation that something is afoot? Am I too paranoid? I forwarded the email to spam@uce.gov (cc-ing noreply along with the message), and my bank's management staff.

So, basically, I have a potentially genuine cancellation email enacted via phone from a number provided on the presumably safe website, but I've got a hold that might hard post.


Of note, I managed to find the organization that owns the domain name "enfactnotifications.com" via ICANN. The organization is Fiserv, Inc., which appears to be authentic:

Image of ICANN WHOIS results page

  • Is the name of the bank in the email the name of your bank? If you are concerned about the phone number being fake, you can call your bank using a phone number you know and trust (or visit a branch) and ask them if the email is legit. – BrenBarn Jan 28 '17 at 7:21
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    I doubt there is much we can usefully tell you here. You need to talk to your bank. If they have a phone line open tomorrow, call them. If not, you may have to wait until Monday. If the transaction goes through and is indeed fraudulent, it doesn't mean all is lost; your bank may still help you resolve it. But it's really between you and your bank. (I gather you made this purchase with a direct account debit? One way to shield yourself from fraud is to use a credit card instead.) – BrenBarn Jan 28 '17 at 7:29
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    Search this site for many questions about the benefits of credit cards. There are legal protections in place for credit cards that essentially force the banks to assume the costs of fraudulent transactions. (I don't know how they apply in cases like this where you knowingly made the transaction but may still have been scammed, but in general the protections are stronger for credit cards than for debit cards.) – BrenBarn Jan 28 '17 at 7:32
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    Is there a 24-hour number on the website? Is it the same as the one the email? If so, the number is probably legit. If there is a number but it's not the same number, you could call the number on the website. Based on what you've said, my guess would be that the seller is legit and the email is a genuine verification email (because of the unusual large transaction) that just happened to come in at a time that made you suspicious. But either way, the solution is probably the same: wait until you can talk to your bank and/or the seller to straighten things out. – BrenBarn Jan 28 '17 at 7:46
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    Are you referring to "Enfact"? If the fraud inquiry email is legit, it is likely because Enfact is some kind of fraud-detection service used by your bank, unrelated to the retailer you bought from. (Googling the name suggests this is indeed the case; it also reveals that there have been phishing scams with emails posing as Enfact notifications, so your concern may be justified. Wait until you can talk to your bank.) – BrenBarn Jan 28 '17 at 8:19
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You need to talk to your bank. If you're unable to contact your bank until Monday, then wait until Monday. Don't fixate on the idea that the transaction may "hard post" on Monday. If it happens, it happens, but it's not the end of the world.

Even if the transaction posts, it's not the end of the world. If the retailer is legit, they will refund your money, although it may take some time for things to get sorted out.

Even if the transaction posts and the retailer is not legit, it's still not the end of the world. Your bank may help you in trying to recover the funds. That's why you need to talk to your bank.

As you have realized, blindly calling the number in the email is not a good idea, because if it's fake, you're calling the scammers. Instead, what you should do is try to contact your bank through known trusted channels. That is, look on your bank's website. Do they have a phone number listed for fraud reporting or related inquiries? Is it the same number you see in the email? If so, you can call it. If it is not the same number, but the number on your bank's website is a 24-hour number, you can call them at that number and tell them the situation.

Based on what you've described, my own guess would be that the retailer is legit, but that the unusual large transaction was flagged by your bank as potentially fraudulent, which is why you got the email. The fact that you happened to get the email just after canceling the order could be a coincidence. This is especially true if all this happened in a short time. Information about these transactions can't be transmitted and analyzed instantaneously, nor can emails be sent instantaneously; there may have been a delay in sending the email so it only arrived after the cancellation.

As far as your worries about how "enfact" got your info, it is likely a fraud-detection service used by your bank. Doing a bit of googling reveals that it appears to be a legit service, but there have also been instances of phishing attacks using faked "enfact" emails. However, from what I see, these worked by trying to get you to click on a link, not call a phone number. Also, if a scammer is able to send you a scam email that includes your actual order details, that's not a phish, it's an outright hack. In that case the bank and/or retailer (whichever was hacked) would certainly want to know about it and would likely fall all over themselves trying to refund your money to avoid negative PR.

  • Yes, we will see this Monday. I use HTTPS everywhere and I have a student version of Sophos Anti-Virus, so, this, in conjunction with you answer, leads me to believe that enfact is probably legitimate, and I'll be hearing about it come Monday from my banker---but limbo for now. – Domemy Jan 28 '17 at 21:12
  • You know, I'm thinking back to an old DEFCON presentation (youtube.com/watch?v=ytDamqTjPwg), and I'm wondering if there is a way to benefit from the knowledge of having received this phishing attempt. That is, of course, assuming it is a phishing attack, again, I haven't communicated with my bank yet after I sent them the request to verify genuineness. – Domemy Jan 28 '17 at 23:09
  • The domain name "enfactnotifications.com" is owned by the organization Fiserv, Inc., which appears to be authentic... So, I guess I am paranoid. – Domemy Jan 28 '17 at 23:50
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Call your bank and inquire if they send out the kinds of notices like the one you received. Don't call the number in the message, because if it is a scam, you're calling the scammers themselves, more than likely.

Be very cautious about this situation, and if your bank is local then it might not hurt to pay a visit to a local branch to talk to someone in person. Print out the message(s) you receive to show them and let their fraud division look into it.

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