A call was received one evening from someone saying they represented
VISA credit card:
"This is <name> and I'm calling from the Security
and Fraud Department at VISA. 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
<your name bank.> Did you purchase an anti-telemarketing
device for $497.99 from a marketing company based in Arizona?"
When saying "No", the caller continues:
"Then we will need to be issuing a credit to your account.
This charge is from a company VISA has been watching with charges
made to our customer's credit cards that have ranged from $297
to $497, all just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags the
VISA security department. Before your next statement, credit will
be made to your billing statement that is sent to (gives you your
address.) Is that correct?"
You say "Yes".
The caller continues:
"VISA 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 (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security. You will
need to refer to the following control number.
Then the caller gives you a meaningless six-digit number.
"Do you need me to read it again?" he will ask.
Here is the IMPORTANT part of the scam.
The caller then says:
"I need to verify you are in possession of your card.
Turn your card over and look for a group of numbers. What are
the last three.?"
There are seven numbers on the back of your card near your signature.
The first four are part of your card number while the next three
are your critical 'Security Numbers'
that verify you are in possession of the card. These are the numbers
you would normally use to make an Internet or telephone purchase
to prove you are the owner of the card and that the card is in your
"Read me the last three numbers," he asks.
After you give the caller the three numbers he needs, he'll then
"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 saying "No," the caller thanks you and
completes the call by saying:
"Don't hesitate to call VISA at any time" .
. . and hangs up.
VISA was called back within a few minutes, the scammed credit card
owner wanting to ask a question about the call. When describing
the call, the REAL VISA Security Department said it was a
scam and that in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was
charge to the credit card. VISA immediately closed the account and
issued instructions for to send out a new one.
If you think about it, actually very little information was ever
asked about the credit card number!
While the scammer was obviously able to previously discover
your credit card number through other clever means, they still needed
the 3-digit security PIN number on the back of your card to compete
Never, ever give it to them! Tell them you're going
to call VISA instead or just hang up.
The real VISA reports that they will never ask for anything on
the card, as they already know the information since they issued
you the card! And if you wait on reporting the fraud until you get
your statement, it may become more difficult to prove fraud and
get your money back.
As instructed by VISA when reporting the scam, a police report
was immediately filed. The police said they are taking several of
these reports daily. They also urged this scam be passed along to
as many people as possible.
The following night the same scam was run again, this time from
a "Jason Richardson of MasterCard" repeating the
VISA scam word-for-word that was received the night before.
Special thanks to Dr. Ellen
Rudolph for passing this personal account from a friend who wanted
people to know about this nasty new scam.