New scam highly sophisticated, can trip up even savvy credit cardholders

January 07, 2009
Santa Paula News

Taking a scam one step farther, a new and highly sophisticated credit card number theft is being reported that can trip up even the savviest cardholders.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesTaking a scam one step farther, a new and highly sophisticated credit card number theft is being reported that can trip up even the savviest cardholders. The latest scam involves a phone call to the cardholder, but this time they do not ask for the card number, only the three-digit PIN number often required for online purchases. The scammers already have the card number, obtained through various means of theft including those swiped for purchases that later are passed on to criminals.The caller identifies themselves generically as representing either VISA or Master Card’s security and fraud department, offers an employee badge identification number, and tells the intended victim their card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern. Offering the name of the bank issuing the card, the caller asks if the account holder purchased an anti-telemarketing device for a hefty $497.99 from an Arizona based company.When the account holder answers no, the caller notes a credit will be issued to the account and adds that the company has been making fraudulent charges just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags unauthorized purchases. The caller claims a fraud investigation will be launched, and suggests the cardholder call the 800 number on the back of the card and ask for security if they have any questions.
Offering a six-digit “control number,” the caller then notes they must verify the account holder is in possession of the card, and asks the intended victim to read the last three numbers listed on the back of the card. Stating that the last step was to ensure the account holder has possession of the card, the caller asks if there are any questions, thanks the cardholder for their patience, and urges them to call if they have any questions.Then they start making big purchases - often within a matter of minutes - from a bogus company that won’t be discovered by the cardholder until they receive their statement. Or, said Santa Paula Police Detective Dan Kiernan, “In some instances the suspects have been reproducing the card with the PIN and number on it and waiting several weeks before using it,” so the victim - if they are monitoring their account - believes future thefts have been deterred.If contacted by “any bank, known to you or not, they have the information about your available to them, including your PIN, Social Security number, date of birth and mother’s maiden name.” No information “should be provided to these people calling, regardless of who they state they are,” Kiernan added. “I reiterate that people must be vigilant with their personal information.”

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