Bottom Line/Personal interviews Dr. Audri Lanford on credit card scams: Internet Scambusters #286
Today we have another Special Issue for you. It’s the third
cover story article that interviews Audri in Bottom
Line/Personal: this one is called “If You Own a Credit Card or
Debit Card, WATCH OUT… The Trickiest Scams Now.”
Bottom Line/Personal is an excellent fee-based newsletter that
interviews top experts on different topics and presents the
latest info to their subscribers (we’ve subscribed for years).
We again asked for and received their permission to share this
excellent article with you. Enjoy…
You can find the previous Bottom Line/Personal articles here.
Before we begin, we want to share our good news:
Our brand new “7 Photography Questions” Podcast has launched.
We’re really excited, because each week Audri is
interviewing a world class photographer, and asking the 7
biggest questions about their topic of expertise. And the
interviews are jam-packed with information and advice to help
take your photography to the next level.
So, check out the site, subscribe to the email list, and
listen to the first interview where Audri asks master flower
photographer Tony Sweet the 7 biggest href="http://www.7photographyquestions.com/audio-podcast/"
target="_blank">flower photography questions.
Next, we recommend you check out this week’s issue of
What’s New in Scams?
Then, you may want to spend a moment looking at this week’s
most popular articles from our other sites:
Identity Theft Criminals: Why They Do It: Interesting info on what
makes href="http://www.identitytheftfixes.com/identity_theft_criminals_why_they_do_it.html" target="_blank">identity theft criminals steal identities.
Are You At Risk of Airbag Fraud? What you don’t know about
target="_blank">airbag fraud can hurt you — or even worse —
What Tech Geek Dads Want For This Year’s Father’s Day Gift:
target="_blank">Father’s Day gifts for techies can easily be
found once you know what to look for.
Now, here we go…
If You Own a Credit Card or Debit Card, WATCH OUT…
The Trickiest Scams Now
(Note: we split some of the paragraphs to make this article
easier to read. The content, however, has not been changed at
Credit card crooks are becoming more sophisticated. It often
takes victims longer to spot today’s complex credit card scams,
giving thieves extra time to make fraudulent purchases.
Five of the latest credit card scams today…
You use your credit card to make a purchase from a reputable
Internet retailer. The next time you try to use the card, it is
rejected because it has been maxed out.
Many computers are infected with a “keystroke logger,” a type
of computer spyware that tracks everything typed into the
computer and reports it back to a scammer via the Internet.
When an online purchase is made, the scammer is able to obtain
the victim’s credit card number.
Victims often download and install keystroke logger spyware
without realizing that they are doing so.
Example: Thousands of high-ranking executives across the
country recently received email messages that appeared to be
official subpoenas from the United States District Court in San
Diego. A link embedded in the message offered a copy of the
When the recipients clicked on the link to view the subpoena,
they unknowingly installed the software that recorded their
subsequent keystrokes, including credit card numbers, user IDs
Cell Phone Camera Scam
A shopper chats on his/her cell phone near a store’s cash
register while you pay for a purchase… or he talks on a cell
phone outside a restaurant window while, just inside, you use
your credit card to pay for a meal.
Though the bystander appears to be deeply engrossed in his
conversation, he actually might be using the camera built into
his cell phone to snap digital pictures of your name, your
credit card number and the expiration date.
Some cell phones now contain five-megapixel cameras, with sharp
enough resolution to snap a legible picture of a credit card
even from several feet away.
Self-defense: Be aware of people around you whenever your
credit card is out of your wallet, particularly if someone
nearby is holding a cell phone. Conceal your card under your
hand, or at least turn the card over.
You pay for a restaurant meal with your credit card. When the
waiter returns, you sign the receipt and slip the card back
into your wallet, same as always.
But the next time you use the credit card, it is declined. When
you examine the card, you realize that it is not your credit
card, but rather a similar-looking card with someone else’s
name on it.
Unscrupulous restaurant and retail employees occasionally carry
a few old credit cards, perhaps ones stolen from previous
customers that have been canceled by their owners.
When a customer pays with a card that is similar in appearance,
the scammer pockets the new card and substitutes the old one.
If the victim fails to notice, the thief goes on a shopping
Self-defense: Always double-check that the credit card returned
to you really is your card.
Some high-tech scammers working in restaurants, gas stations
and other establishments have small electronic boxes known as
“skimmers” hidden near the cash register.
Skimmers steal the information — name, address, telephone
number, credit limit, PIN — encoded on credit cards when the
cards are swiped through them.
Unlike a conventional credit card scanner, a skimmer is not
attached to a phone line or cash register and typically is
concealed out of customers’ view.
Self-defense: Try not to let your card out of your sight. Of
course, this isn’t always possible, but when it is, pay close
attention. That alone may make a scammer less likely to try
Credit Card Fraud “Assistance”
You receive a phone call from someone who identifies himself as
a Visa or MasterCard representative. He asks if you authorized
a particular purchase (often electronics). You did not.
The representative explains that someone has stolen your credit
card number and is running up your bill. “Don’t worry,” the rep
says, “I can help you cancel the card and have the fraudulent
charges removed from your account.”
This caller does not really work for a credit card company, and
your card number has not really been stolen — yet. The caller
is a con artist who will ask you to “confirm” your credit card
number and perhaps the three-digit code on the back of the card
while pretending to help you stop a fictitious thief.
Self-defense: Never divulge your credit card number or the code
on the back of your credit card to anyone who phones you, even
if he/she claims that you must act fast to protect your account.
Hang up, phone your credit card company’s toll-free number and
ask a real credit card company rep to check for the fraudulent
charge that the caller mentioned, as well as for any other
suspicious activity. If there is any sign of trouble, cancel
Also, check your accounts regularly online for any fraudulent
Credit Card Liability Limits
Fortunately, victims of credit card theft generally are liable
for only $50 of the thief’s charges (and banks usually waive
even this fee for good customers).
But victims often have to cancel their cards and update any
automatic charge arrangements (for Internet service, electronic
toll collection, etc.).
That $50 liability limit also applies to ATM and debit cards,
though holders of these cards might be liable for up to $500 if
they fail to report the card’s disappearance within two
business days after they learn of the loss or theft of the
card. (Debit and ATM card owners can be held responsible for
all losses if they fail to report the theft within 60 days of
when a bank statement showing unauthorized charges is mailed.)
Victims also face cash flow problems and bounced-check fees
when thieves clean out their bank accounts.
Bottom Line/Personal interviewed Audri Lanford, PhD, cofounder
and coeditor of Scambusters.org, a Web site that informs the
public about scams and cons.
Reprinted with the permission of:
281 Tresser Blvd.
Stamford, CT 06901
That’s it for today — we hope you enjoy your week!