OP/ED: MP warns of credit card scam

By Contributor
December 23rd, 2009

My office has recently learned of the latest credit card scam, which I thought would be worthwhile sharing with readers during the holiday season.

The scam works like this:

A person will call saying, “This is (name), and I’m calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. 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 card, 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 the charges range from $297 to $497, 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”.  

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 (1-800-VISA) and ask for security. You will need to refer to this control number.”

The caller then gives you a six-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 to verify you are in possession of your card”.

He’ll ask you to, “turn your card over and look for some numbers'”.

There are seven numbers; the first four are part of your card number, the last three 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 last  three numbers to him. After you tell the caller the three 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 says, “Don’t hesitate to call back if you do,” and hangs up.

You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the card number.

My office has contacted the VISA and was told that they would never ask for anything on the card as they already know that information.

If you give the scammers your three-digit PIN number, you think you will be receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you’ll see charges for purchases you didn’t make, and by then it’s almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.

What the scammers want is the three-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.

If you have a question about your account, please contact the financial institution that issued your Visa card or MasterCard. You can find their address and telephone number on your monthly statement.

Categories: Op/Ed


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