Warning - Credit Card Scams!

Note, the callers do not ask for your card number, THEY already have it.
This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA and MASTERCARD Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.

Credit Fraud

Credit Fraud

The Scam works like this: Person calling says, “This is (NAME), and I am calling from the Security and Fraud Department at Visa/Mastercard. My Badge Number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I’m calling to verify. This would be on your Visa/Mastercard which was issued by (NAME OF BANK). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a marketing company based in Arizona?”

When you say “NO,” the caller continues with: “Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and charges range from $297.00 to $497.00, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (GIVES YOU YOUR ADDRESS) is that correct?”

You say “YES” because you want the credit.

The caller continues — “I will be starting a Fraud Investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1-800 number listed on the back of your card and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number.” The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. “Do you need me to read it again?”

Here’s the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works. The caller then says, “I need you to verify that you are in possession of your card.”

They will ask you to “turn the card over and look for some numbers.” There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the Security Numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes used to make internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to them. After you read the 3 numbers, the caller will say, “That is correct. I just need to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?”

After you say “No,” the caller then thanks you and states, “Don’t hesitate to call back if you do,” and then hangs up.

You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the Card Number. When you do call back, the REAL VISA SECURITY DEPARTMENT will tell you that a new purchase of $497.99 was charged to your card. You will have to close the card and be issued a new card. Then, you will need to file a Fraud / Identity Theft Police Report.

The scammers want the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don’t give it to them. Instead, tell them you’ll call VISA or MASTERCARD directly for verification of their conversation.

The REAL VISA / MASTERCARD will never ask you for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card!

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends being on the lookout for the following scams this holiday season:

1. Scam Shopping Sites Online.

We are all looking for great deals online, but some sites offer electronics or luxury goods at prices that are too good to be true. Every holiday season BBB hears from holiday shoppers who paid for a supposedly great deal online, but received nothing in return. The BBB cautions consumers to ALWAYS look for the BBB seal when shopping online and click on the seal to confirm it is legitimate.

2. Identity Theft At The Mall.

While you are struggling at the mall with bags of presents, identity thieves see an opportunity to steal your wallet and debit or credit card numbers. Don't let yourself get bogged down in purchases and lose track of your wallet. Know where your debit and credit cards are at all times and cover the keypad when entering your pin number while purchasing items or getting money from the ATM.

3. Bogus Charitable Pleas.

The holidays are a time of giving which creates a great opportunity for scammers to solicit donations to line their own pockets. Also, beware of solicitations from charities that don't necessarily deliver on their promises or are ill-equipped to carry through on their plans. Before you give, make sure the charity meets the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability, which can be found online at www.bbb.org.

4. Phishing E-Mails.

Phishing e-mails are a common way for hackers to get your personal information or break into your computer. Common phishing e-mails around the holidays include e-cards and messages pretending to be from companies like UPS or Fedex with links to package tracking information.

Here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:

  • Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) email.
  • Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited email.
  • Be cautious of email claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses.
  • Only open attachments from known senders. Scan the attachments for viruses if possible.
  • Avoid filling out forms contained in email messages that ask for personal information.
  • Always compare the link in the email with the link to which you are directed and determine if they match and will lead you to a legitimate site.
  • Log directly onto the official web site for the business identified in the email, instead of "linking" to it from an unsolicited email.
  • If you are asked to act quickly, or there is an emergency, it may be a scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly.
  • Verify any requests for personal information from any business or financial institution by contacting them using the main contact information.
  • Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!