New scam asks credit card holders for security code

BOULDER - Boulder's District Attorney is warning of a new scam that sounds very legitimate because the caller typically has a lot of information already.

Here's what officials said typically happens on the phone call:

"This is (name) and I’m calling from the Security and Fraud Department of VISA/Mastercard. My badge number is *****. I need to inform you that your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I’m calling to verify. This would be on your VISA/Mastercard which was issued by (name of the bank). Did you purchase…..?” (then the caller goes on to give an item and a price, and refers to an out of state company).

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 credit cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives your address). Is that correct?"  You confirm it is.

The caller continues, "I’ll be starting a fraud investigation. If you have questions, you should call the 1-800-number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number."  The caller gives you a six-digit number.  "Do you need me to read it again?"

The caller then says, "I need to verify you are in possession of your card." He or she will ask you to turn your card over and give the three digit security code on the back of the card.  After you give the number, the caller will 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 than 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.

Those who have received this call and have had second thoughts have called the 800-number, and been advised by the real VISA/MasterCard Security Department that this is a scam.  However, fraudulent charges have already been made to their credit cards.

The District Attorney's office says if VISA/MasterCard does contact you regarding a questionable charge to your account, the agent will never ask for anything on the card as they already have that information, since they issued the card.

"This scam relies on the thief having obtained some of your information," officials said. "The aim is to get your CSC (card security code). This number is never printed on your statement, but is the final piece of information needed by the scammers to fraudulently use your card."

Officials said if you receive a call from a person identifying himself as an employee of your credit card company stating that your card has been compromised, hang up and call the number on your credit card. Then call your local law enforcement to make a report.