Friday, January 18, 2008

Fraud alert

A friend of mine sent this to me and I checked it out for any signs of truth and it appears that this scam is possible and has happened.

The gist of the scam is con artists, who already have some information about you, pretend to be from the Security Department of Visa or Mastercard and try to obtain the 3 digit code on the back of your credit card. Do not give it out. Read on below for more details.

Click on the links for websites that confirm this scam, including the website of the Indiana Attorney General.

Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already haveit. This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA &MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better preparedto protect yourself.One of our employees was called on Wednesday from "VISA", and I wascalled on Thursday from "Master Card".The scam works like this: Person calling says, "This is (name), andI'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badgenumber is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchasepattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA cardwhich was issued by (name of bank). Did you purchase anAnti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a Marketing company basedin Arizona?" When you say "No", the caller continues with, "Then wewill be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we havebeen watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the$500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your nextstatement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), isthat correct?"

You say "yes". The caller continues - "I will be starting a Fraudinvestigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask forSecurity.

You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then givesyou 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 youto "turn your card over and look for some numbers". ; There are 7numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are thesecurity Numbers' that verify you are the possessor of the card. Theseare the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to proveyou have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers tohim. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, "That iscorrect, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost orstolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any otherquestions?" 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 theCard number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called backwithin 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISAS security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutesa new purchase chase of $497.99 was charged to our card.

Long story - short - we made a real fraud report and closed the VISAaccount. VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the scammers want isthe 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 directly forverification of their conversation. The real VISA told us that theywill never ask for anything on the card as they already know theinformation since they issued the card! If you give the scammers your3 Digit PIN Number, you think you're receiving a credit. However, bythe time you get your statement you'll see charges for purchases youdidn't make, and by then it's almost too late and/or more difficult tto actually file a fraud report.

What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call froma "Jason Richardson of Master Card" with a word-for-word repeat of theVISA scam. This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up! We filed apolice report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are takingseveral of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybodywe know that this scam is happening.Please pass this on to all your family and friends. By informing eachother, we protect each other.