If phishing doesn’t work to get your credit card information, this telephone call just might. It’s pretty convincing and without this information to warn consumers could cost you.
They are at it again and this scam is slick.
There is a new telephone credit scam. You’d think it could never work. Everyone knows that you should never, ever give your credit card account information over the phone and that your financial institutions would never ask you for this information by phone or by e-mail.
So how does this new identity theft scam work?
Criminals are calling victims on the phone and claiming that they work for Visa or MasterCard fraud or security department. They tell victims that they have identified a suspicious purchase and are contacting them to verify this purchase.
It seems legit at first because the callers do no ask for your credit card number. In fact they already have it.
This is a transcript of a variation of these identity theft credit card fraud scams:
Caller: ‘This is (name), and I’m calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 18228. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I’m calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card, issued by (name of bank). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Program for $499.99 from a company based in New Mexico?’
When victims say “no”, the caller continues by saying, ‘Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from $200 to $499, just under the $500 purchase price that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?’
When victims say “yes,” the caller continues – “I will be starting an investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6-digit number and asks, “Do you need me to read it again?”
Here’s the catch!
The caller then says, “I do need to verify you are in possession of this card and that it has not been stolen.” He’ll ask you to ‘turn your card over and look for some numbers saying, “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 use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he’ll say, ‘That is correct, I just needed 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.”
Victims who participate have then learned that a fraudulent charge for up to $499.00 was immediately made to their credit card.
Why do people fall for this?
*We are used to people asking us for the three digits on the back of the card for verification.
*We feel safe since they never asked us for our card number.
*As credit card companies have stepped up fraud alerts, many people are not suspicious of the call.
*We are panicked to get an almost $500.00 charge removed quickly.
Remember, that in addition to credit card and banks never asking you for your credit card or bank account numbers over the phone or e-mail, nor would they ask you for the three digit verification on the back of your card.
What should you do to avoid being the victim of identity theft and a credit card scam?
*If you receive such a call, or an e-mail for that matter, make no response by phone or e-mail. Hang up and call the number on your card and ask for the fraud department to verify if you do have a problem.
*Don’t let statements sit around. Open them immediately to look for fraud while the trail is still hot.
*Report any scams, whether you became a victim or were just intended prey, to the local authorities to help prevent others from falling victim to identity theft.
It seems that identity thieves stay one step ahead of us on the learning curve. We learn to never give out our card numbers over the phone, and so they steal card numbers other ways and rewrite their scripts to get out security codes. Being aware of these scams is the best way to protect and prevent from becoming the next victim of identity theft.