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Scam Alert! Please Read!

This is happening in the Midwest right now and moving across the country. This one is pretty slick, since they provide YOU with all the information, except the one piece they want. Note, the callers do not ask for your card number since they already have it. Here's how it works:

  • A person will call and say that they are so-and-so calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA, and that your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern.
  • They'll ask if you made a purchase, which will be something odd and probably out of town, and when you say 'No', the caller continues by saying that they will be issuing a credit to your account. They may even say that they've have been watching so-and-so company, and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards.
  • They claim that the credit will be sent before your next statement, and gives you your address and asks you to verify that address.
  • Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works

  • The caller then says, 'I need to verify you are in possession of your card'. He'll ask you to turn your card over and look for some numbers. There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the last 3 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. The caller will ask you to read the last 3 numbers to him.
  • After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, 'That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen.' At this point, he's got you.

If you are contacted by anyone asking these sorts of questions, hang up. Then call VISA at 1-(800)-VISA-911 and/or call us at (704) 375-3950.

Online Shopping Tips

Here's a few tips to help you protect yourself while shopping online:

  • Be Careful Where You Shop - Make sure that you're dealing with a reputable business. If you haven't used them before, search for the business name along with words like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” Be sure to read a few reviews — don’t rely on just one source.
  • Be Sure of the Site - Make sure that you're on the actual website for the company in question. Sometimes, scammers will put up a clever copy of the real website in an attempt to get you to enter your credit card or other information.
  • Know the terms. Find out what the refund/exchange policies are, and if there are any charges (like shipping costs or restocking fees) if you return a product.
  • Pay by credit card. Credit cards give you protections that other methods of payment may not. If there’s a problem, you have the right to dispute charges and temporarily withhold payment while your dispute is investigated.
  • Use secure checkout. Before you enter your credit card information online, check that the website address starts with “https”. The “s” stands for secure. If you don’t see the “s,” don’t enter your information.

For more information about staying safe online, visit the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Protection website.

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