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Will the Real Fraud Department Please Stand Up!

A new email alert is making the rounds warning consumers of fake fraud department calls from major credit card companies. The email alleges that people across the country are receiving calls from someone claiming to be from the Fraud Department of either VISA or Mastercard. While this type of phishing scam is not new and according to Snopes.com, neither VISA nor Mastercard have verified losses directly related to this email alert so far, the warning remains valid about any phishing call. So, it’s worth reviewing what to look for should you receive a call of this nature and what you can do to protect yourself.

Using the email alert as an example, here’s how the con works:

The scammer claims that he is calling about a suspicious charge made using your credit card. He asks if you purchased the item described. When you say no, he states that your account will be refunded for that amount. However, in order to verify your account, the scammer asks you to give him the three-digit code on the back of the card. Thinking that you dodged a bullet due to the vigilance of your credit card company, you give the caller the code number.

Once they have the three-digit code, they will make fraudulent charges to your credit card. The most frightening part – the caller already has a great deal of information about you including your credit card number. All they needed was the code number to complete the puzzle and create a big headache for you as they rack up charges in your name,

So what should you do for this or any type of phishing scam?

  1. If you should receive a call like the one described above, just hang up.
  2. For an unsolicited call by someone you don’t know, don’t give out any personal or financial information. Don’t verify information that they give you about your account.
  3. Think about it. The real credit card fraud department already has all the information on your account and would not have ask you for the code on the back of your card.
  4. If you believe that your account has been compromised or that there are suspicious charges posted to your account, call your credit card provider directly using the number on the back of the credit card. Also, contact the three credit reporting agencies – Transunion, Equifax, and Experian– to place a fraud alert on your credit report.
  5. Never call a number that the caller may give you.

Source: BBB North Alabama

For any scam of this type, take a moment to ask yourself, “Does this make sense?” If not, it’s most likely a scam.

For more credit card security tips, go to the VISA Security page. To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, go to bbb.org.