Police issuing alert for the latest credit card fraud scheme

With the holiday season fast approaching, thieves have come up with an ingenious way to steal credit card information.

OPP Constable Mark Cloes provided information on one of the latest ways thieves can steal from people.

“This one is pretty slick – since they provide you with all the information, except the one piece they want,” Cloes said. “Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it.”

The county OPP is provid­ing citizens with information on how the scam is being done and hopes that by under­standing how the Visa and MasterCard telephone credit card scam works, people will be prepared to protect them­selves.

The scam works like this:

The person calling says, “This is [name], and I’m calling from the Security and Fraud De­partment at (VISA or Mas­terCard). My badge number is 12460; your card has been flag­ged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I’m calling to verify. This would be on your Visa card, which was issued by [name of your bank]. Did you purchase an anti-telemarketing device for $497.99 from a mar­keting company based in Arizona?

Cloes said, “When homeowners respond and say ‘No,’ the caller continues with: “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. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to [gives card holder’s correct address], is that cor­rect?”

Cloes said victims then say, “Yes.”

The caller continues,  “I will be starting a fraud investi­ga­tion. If you have any questions, you should call the 1-800 number listed on the back of your card [such as 1-800-VISA] and ask for security. You will need to refer to this control number. The caller then gives a 6 digit number

 “Do you need me to read it again?” the caller asks.

Cloes then stated, “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 you to ‘turn your card over and look for some num­bers.’ There are seven num­bers; the first four are part of the card number, the last three are the security numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card.”

Cloes continued, “Those are the numbers you sometimes use to make internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the last three numbers to him. After you tell the caller the three numbers, he’ll say, ‘That is correct; I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?’ After you say no, the caller then thanks you and states, ‘Don’t hesitate to call back if you do,’ and hangs up.”

Cloes said the thieves “actually say very little, and they never ask for, or tell you the card number.”

He explained that what the scammers want is the three-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) on the back of the card.

“Don’t give it to them. Instead, tell them you will call Visa or MasterCard directly for verification of their conversa­tion.”

Cloes added the real VISA or MasterCard compa­nies will never ask for anything on the card because they al­ready know the information – since they issued the card.

“If you give the scammers your three-digit PIN, you think you are receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement, you’ll see char­g­es for purchases you didn’t make, and by then it is almost too late, or more difficult, to actually file a fraud report.”