Financial Intelligence Development Officer of West Mercia Constabulary

This reminds me of the Brian Molloy car park email.  Scaremongering.  The basic advice is sensible, of course, and you should never give your card information to anyone that phones you.  However, this email is the equivalent of a chain letter or hoax virus warning.  Pass it on, shock horror.  I doubt this particular scam exists as stated.  Think about it.  If someone has your card number and phone number, where did they get it from?  If they really have that information, your card details have been stolen anyway.  The email is written in “American” English but claims to come from a UK Police force.

“This scam has been around for a little while, but appears to be more prevalent recently
It’s a pretty slick one since they provide Y O U with all the information, except the one piece they want. Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it!

By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you’ll be better prepared to protect yourself. The cardholder will receive a telephone call from “VISA”, or from “MasterCard”. The scam works like this:

Person calling says, “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 (name of bank) did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for £497.99 from a Marketing company based in London ?” When you say “No”, the caller continues with, “Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from £297 to £497, just under the £500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?” You say “yes”. The caller continues – “I will be starting a fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 0800 number listed on the back of your card (0800-VISA) and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. “Do you need me to read it again?”

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 next 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 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, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?” After you say, “No,” the caller then thanks you and states, “Don’t hesitate to call back if you do”, and hangs up.

You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the Card number. Within about 15 minutes a new purchase of £497.99 or thereabouts will be charged to the VISA or MASTECARD. What the scammers want is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Anyone who receives such a call should tell them you’ll call VISA or MasterCard directly for verification of their conversation. The real VISA will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card! If someone gives the scammers their 3 Digit PIN Number, they think they are receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement they’ll see charges for purchases they didn’t make, and by then it’s almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.

Feel free to pass this on to whoever you like, family and friends included. You won’t get to investigate one of these as call centres refuse to recognise them as crimes as they consider the card companies to be the losers and therefore it is a victim less crime!!”