The following is from the Johnston County Cooperative Extension Service. For more information, call Jayne McBurney at 919-989-5380 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is always alarming to hear from your credit-card company that a suspicious transaction has taken place. What is even more alarming is that scammers are now preying on credit-card holders by pretending to be helpful.
The scam works like this: A person calls, identifying himself as an employee of the security and fraud department at VISA or MasterCard and even offering his badge number. He explains that the company has flagged a suspicious purchase on the customer’s card. He goes on to tell the consumer about the suspicious purchase, an anti-telemarketing device that cost just under $500. The caller, who is very believable and has your account number and address, explains that a fraud investigation will take place. He even provides the telephone number for the credit card security department and provides you with a control number to track the investigation.
Then, he asks the question that allows him to make the scam happen. He already has your card number and address; what he lacks is the three-digit security code on the back of the card near your signature. When you provide the security code, they have full access to your account.
With scams like this, consumers must be vigilant. Take these steps to protect yourself:
• Check credit card statements and bills to make sure that charges are accurate.
• Do not provide or confirm any personal information or provide credit card numbers over the phone to someone you did not call or do not know.
• Place passwords on your credit and debit cards, bank accounts and phone or online accounts, and don’t carry the passwords with you.
• Have your photo placed on your credit and debit cards. This can be done through your bank or credit card company.
• Do not carry more credit cards or pieces of information than you need, such as a passport, Social Security number or birth certificate.
If you feel that you are receiving scam phone calls or mail, call the N.C. Attorney General’s Office at 919-716-600 or 877-566-7226.