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Two Credit Card Scams

16 years ago

This is reprinted from my subscription to: /The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud

By Audri and Jim Lanford

Issue #172 March 29, 2006

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:

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

hangs up.

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


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


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.

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