Don't fall for either of these credit card scams: Internet ScamBusters™ #172
The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud
By Audri and Jim Lanford
Copyright © Audri and Jim Lanford
All rights reserved.
Today we focus on two credit card scams. One of these credit card scams has generated more questions from subscribers than any other scam in the last couple of weeks.
However, before we get started, why not first check out this week's most popular articles from our other sites:
Say Goodbye To FICO?
How to Save Money on Your Energy Bills
Psychic Readings: Fact or Fiction?
Are You Considering Buying Discount Contacts?
On to the credit card scams...
Two Credit Card Scams to Watch Out For
Credit Card Scam #1:
We've gotten a LOT of questions lately asking us whether or not the following credit card scam is a hoax:
--- Begin email ---
WARNING... New Credit Card Scam.
This one is pretty slick since the crooks provide YOU with all
the information, except the one piece they want.
Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they
already have it. This information is worth reading. By
understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card
Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.
Here's a story passed along by a concerned citizen:
One of our employees was called on Wednesday from "VISA", and
I was called on Thursday from "MasterCard".
The scam works like this: Person calling says, "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
"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 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 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 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," and
You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell
you the Card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we
called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad
we did! The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a
scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was
charged to our card.
Long story made short - we made a real fraud report and closed
the VISA account. VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the
scammers want is 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
The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on
the card as they already know the information since they
issued the card! If you give the scammers your 3 Digit PIN
Number, you think you're 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 makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a
call from a "Jason Richardson of MasterCard" with a
word-for-word repeat of the VISA scam. This time I didn't let
him finish. I hung up!
We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA. The police
said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also
urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is
--- End email ---
Answer: This is most likely a real credit card scam. We have a good number of subscribers tell us they have received these calls.
In addition, this credit card scam is neither difficult nor expensive for a scammer to execute (although they couldn't do it too often without running into trouble with their merchant account).
The biggest red flag is the last sentence, though: we do not recommend you tell everyone you know (especially by sending emails). These requests that you tell everyone you know about something are almost always signs of hoaxes.
Action: Never give any info about your personal credit card or other financial information out to people who call you. If you have a question, you should call the phone number on the back of your credit card directly.
Credit Card Scam #2:
Here is a common scam targeting people with imperfect credit histories we thought you should know about...
This scam also begins with a phone call. The caller tells you that you've been pre-approved for a credit card. The credit limit varies from call to call, but the caller usually quotes a credit limit of around $5,000.
The caller says that this is a perfect way to begin rebuilding your credit and since you have less-than-ideal credit, this is the perfect opportunity. To sweeten the deal, sometimes the caller says that in addition to receiving your pre-approved credit card, you'll also receive a free computer.
Here's the reality: The scammer simply wants to get some information from you -- the routing number for your bank and your checking or savings account number.
Why do they want this information? They say it's to process the one-time fee (which ranges anywhere from $250 to $400).
Unfortunately, many people are falling victim to this scam. They give the caller their bank account information. The money gets withdrawn from their bank account and that's where the nightmare begins.
Some callers aren't receiving anything at all for the money that's been taken out of their bank accounts. Others are receiving a package via UPS.
What's in the package? An application for a pre-paid credit card and a service agreement for a computer that will cost them about $800!
So where's the credit card with the $5,000 credit limit and the free computer?
It doesn't exist.
To make matters worse, the victims suddenly start seeing unauthorized transactions being posted to their account and some have even had problems with identity theft.
Actions: First and foremost, don't ever give your personal information (such as bank account numbers and birth dates) over the phone to someone who calls you asking for it.
Second, never, ever apply for a credit card that you have to pay for up front. While it's not uncommon to have to pay an annual fee for a credit card (especially if you have tarnished credit), the annual fee should be charged to the credit account AFTER you receive the credit card. It shouldn't be paid for up front with your bank account.
That's it for today -- hope you have a great week.