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.
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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.