Identity thieves are constantly seeking ways to access your personal and financial information. One method is particularly sneaky: scammers pretend to be the good guys – real fraud investigators from your credit card company – and make off with all of your private account information.
How it works
The fraudster calls you and says he’s an investigator from your credit card company’s Security and Fraud department. After giving you his badge number and some key information about your credit card, he explains that they’ve flagged your account due to an unusual pattern of use. He then asks if you’ve bought a specific item (sometimes an “anti-telemarketing device”) for a few hundred dollars. You, of course, say no. He assures you that they will credit your account with the purchase price, and will send it to your home address, which he reads to you.
This is when the scam gets going: the “investigator” says he needs to verify that you are in possession of the card, and asks you to turn it over and read the last three numbers you see. It all sounds very official, especially when he gives you a control or case number and instructs you to call the 800 number on the back of your card and ask for Security if you have further questions.
Before the thief called you, he already accessed at least a portion of your account and personal information. Now he wants the best part – the security code – so he can have open and easy access to your account. Immediately after you give him the code, he will go on a spending spree, which you won’t know about until you receive your statement listing the fraudulent charges.
How to avoid this scam
Know, however, that legitimate credit card company investigators and employees will never ask for details about your account. They already have it. Do not share your personal or financial information with someone who contacts you – if you have questions about your credit card account, call the company directly.
This is a classic con, and one that is very easy to fall for! These thieves can sound remarkably like real detectives, and can catch you off-guard when you hear that someone has already used your credit card.
To learn more about how you can avoid and recover from fraud, click on Identity Theft Solutions, our website dedicated to this important topic.