Credit Card Scam

Alert:News from SC Department of Consumer Affairs Credit Card Scam

How it works:

An individual posing as an employee for the Safety and Fraud Department of a major credit card company calls to tell you they have noticed a suspicious buying pattern on your credit card. When you confirm that you did not purchase the item that they describe, they tell you they have been investigating the particular company and will credit your account for the fraudulent charges. To verify your card is still in your possession, they ask you to give them the 3-digit security number located on the back of your credit card. There are seven numbers on the back of your card: the first four are part of you card number, the next three are the security numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. After getting this number, they politely end the conversation by assuring you the problem will be corrected. Before you can realize what has happened, they’ve made costly purchases on your account.

Why it works:

This scam is particularly effective because the caller provides you with all but one piece of information and never asks for your credit card number. During the conversation, the individual will correctly tell you the bank where your card was issued, your mailing address, and even provide you a phone number to call for questions. Prior to calling, the scammer has stolen your credit card number but needs the 3-digit security number to make certain purchases. This is the one piece of information they ask you to supply. The call may seem legitimate, but it is not. Legitimate credit card representative will NEVER ask for card numbers over the phone.


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