Visa Credit Card Scam
The Visa credit card scam is not a brand new scam and we are unsure as to whether there are actually any incidents of this scam in the UK, but we're reporting it here for you to look out for.
How It Works
It all begins with a phone call purporting to be from the security department with your credit card company (although they'll say Visa, Master Card, or whatever, rather than the actual issuing institution, which should ring warning bells). To sound even more convincing, the person will even quote a badge number.
They'll claim your card has been flagged because of the purchase patterns, then ask if you just bought a particular item from a certain company. Of course, you haven't, which brings up a response that a credit will be issued to your account, and even quote your billing address.
After that the caller will say he's opening a fraud investigation, and give you a Freephone number to call, as well as a case number if you have any questions. Finally, just as verification, you'll be asked for the three digit security code on the back of your card, in case you've lost it or it's been stolen.
By this time, since he has your billing address, the caller seems very plausible, and you might well happily tell him the code. That's the end of the call - but just the start of the scam.
It seems innocent enough, even reassuring. After all, apart from those digits, no one has asked you for information. But the crooks obviously already have your address, name, and they possess your credit card number. The security code is the last piece in the jigsaw. With that, they can start charging items and services to the card.
When you receive the statement, at first you believe the new charges on it are the ones under investigation, but the credit promised by the caller hasn't gone through yet. At that point, however, you've been thoroughly scammed.
How To Avoid It
The simple way to avoid this is to simply never give out any information from your card. A real representative wouldn't ask for any - he'd already have it all in front of him. No matter how genuine the caller sounds, don't give it!
You can always take the caller's information, then call the number listed on the back of your card and ask for him in the "security" department. But it's a safe bet that you won't find him there.
If the caller becomes insistent, saying he's simply trying to protect you, hang up the phone. You can try and obtain the number through dialling 1471, although it will probably be a withheld number. Call your credit card company and tell them of the attempt to trick you out of your security code.
What To Do If You're A Victim
If you've been scammed, you need to inform your card issuer, who will cancel the card and issue you a new one. In most instances the purchases will be deleted from your bill. You should also talk to the police and obtain a crime reference number.
In all likelihood the criminals won't be caught - the odds operate in their favour, sadly - but at least you probably won't owe anything.