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Beware, ‘slick’ CC scam making rounds

Special to the Courier

(Editor’s note: This scam is pretty slick, since the scammers provide you with all the information – except the one piece they want. The scammers do not ask for your card number. They already have it.)

This information is worth reading – and remembering. By understanding how the latest the VISA & MasterCard telephone credit card scam works, members of the public be better prepared to protect themselves.
The scam works like this.
A 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 bank).”
The caller asks, “Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a marketing company based in Arizona?”
When you say “No,” the caller continues, “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 respond, “Yes.”
The caller says, “I will be starting a fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 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.”
After reading out a six-digit number, the caller asks, “Do you need me to read it again?”
Then comes the critical portion of how this 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,” explaining, “There are seven numbers; the first four are part of your card number and 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 that prove you have the card.
The caller will ask you to read the last three numbers to him. After you comply, 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 offers, “Don’t hesitate to call back if you have a question,” and hangs up.
The person being scammed actually says very little, and the scammer never asks for or tells you the card number. However, after a person was called recently, that person actually called VISA back within 20 minutes to ask a question. At that point, they were informed by the real VISA Security Department that it had been a scam and in the last 15 minutes, a new purchase of $497.99 had been charged to the card.
As a result, that person filed a “real” fraud report and closed the VISA account. VISA reissued the person a new number.
To reiterate, the scammer wants the three-digit security or PIN number on the back of the card. Do not give it to anyone on the telephone. Instead, tell him you will call your credit card company directly to verify the conversation.
The real VISA security department said they would never ask for any information on the credit card because they already know the information since they issued the card!
If you give a scammer the three-digit number from the back of the card, you think you’re receiving a credit. However, your next statement will include fraudulent charges. By then, it’s almost too late or will be more difficult to actually file a fraud report.
What makes this more remarkable is that the next day, the person who was originally “almost” scammed, received a call from a “Jason Richardson of MasterCard” with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA Scam. This time she hung up and didn’t let him finish.
As instructed by VISA, the woman filed a police report. Law enforcement authorities said they had been taking several similar complaints daily!
To top it off, the woman later dealt with a similar situation with the caller telling her that $3,097 had been charged to my account for plane tickets to Spain. The verbal script was repeated, nearly word for word.
It appears that this is a very active scam, and evidently quite successful so beware and never reveal PIN or security number to anyone over the telephone.