April 4, 2005

VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam

Received from Jan today, and verified at:  http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_credit_card_fraud.htm


This information is worth reading.  By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.  Those con artists get more creative every day.

My husband 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> 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 #."    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 your card number, the next 3 are the 'Security Numbers' that verify you are in possession of the card.  These are the numbers you use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card.  Read me the 3 numbers."  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 charge on our card.

Long story made short, we made a real fraud report and closed the VISA card, and they are reissuing us a new number.  What the scammers wants 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 Master card direct.  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 harder 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 happening.

Please pass this URL on to all your friends.  By informing each other, we protect each other.


Web posted:  April 4, 2005

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