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Do Not fall for credit card phone scheme

Date: 9/25/2008 10:10:20 PM

“My husband asked why we’d need to give our card number if they already knew it was posted on the Internet,” Margaret Couch said.

A phone scam ring tried twice to get Couch’s credit card number on the phone.

Couch said she answered the phone to find a person claiming to be from MasterCard and VISA who said her

credit card had been compromised. In fact, the caller told Couch her number was posted on the Internet for anyone to use.

“I told her that sounded like a scam to me,” Couch said. “After I hung up, I called the number back and what you get sounds like a fax tone.” Couch said the number on her caller ID was (866) 585-6064. When The Daily Times called the number, it rings without any answer.

According to, scammers pretend to be fraud investigation agents for card companies in order to obtain card security codes.

VISA’s security site says this is a common scam which has been reported since 1997. Callers will often have a sophisticated spiel including a badge number and the name of a company they say has charged an amount on your card. In the end, the caller will tell you they need the security code on your card to verify it has not been lost or stolen, to issue a credit to your card and to make sure no other unauthorized purchases are made.

The snopes site notes that credit card purchases no longer require a card be physically presented to the seller, so thieves have many opportunities to use stolen card numbers. Many scammers have gotten hold of credit card numbers then need only the security codes to make bogus transactions.

The scammers often keep after the same household, making their ruse seem more authentic. In Couch’s case, the scammers called her house a second time on another day.

The best protection against these kinds of scams is verification. If the person says they are from VISA, hang up and call the service number on your card. Do not get a number from the scammer, use the authentic number on your card.

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