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Those in the financial community are warning customers of a new credit card scam.
Lynn Funk, a registered advisor with Lincoln Financial Securities Corp. in Galax, said she’s heard reports of this scam in the Midwest and it is quickly spreading.
“This one is pretty slick since they provide you with all the information, except the one piece they want,” she said. “Note that the callers do not ask for your card number — they already have it.”
The scam works like this — the person calling says they are with the Security and Fraud Department at VISA or MasterCard. They might even give a “badge number.”
They say your credit card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern and they are calling to verify.
The scammer will know the bank that issued your card, and will ask if you purchased an expensive item. In the example given in the scam warning, the purchase was an anti-telemarketing device for $497.99 from a marketing company based in Arizona.
When you say you didn’t buy the item, 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.”
The scam caller will know your address and will offer to send the credit before your next statement is due.
The caller continues: “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 and ask for security. You will need to refer to this control number.” The caller then gives you a six-digit number.
The caller will then get to the point of the scam — stealing your three-digit security PIN number on the back of your credit card.
The caller will say they need to “verify you are in possession of your card” and ask for the number, which is often used when making online purchases as an extra security measure.
After you tell the caller the three numbers, they will say, “That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen.”
The irony is that your card information really has just been stolen — and the caller never asks for or tells you the card number.
One person who fell victim to the scam contacted their credit card’s real security department right after the scam call and discovered that in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 — the same amount the caller asks about — had been charged to the card.
Credit card companies will never ask for anything on your card, as they already know the information — they issued the card.
If you give the scammers your three-digit PIN number, you think you’re receiving a credit, but by the time you get your statement you’ll see charges for purchases you didn’t make.
By then, it’s almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.