Sunday, 28 February 2010

Visa & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam

An Email has been circulating with a warning that scammers are attempting to obtain CVV2/CVC2 security numbers by phoning credit card holders and posing as Security and Fraud Department staff from Visa or MasterCard.

CVV2/CVC2 security numbers are the three-digit security codes included on the back of credit/debit cards.

We all receive scam warnings most of which are just scare mongering and a nuisance. Athough the specific CVV2/CVC2 scam described may not occur as often as implied, the advice in the message is nevertheless worth heeding.

For your own security you should never provide account information to anyone claiming to be from a credit card provider, the financial institution that issued the card or any other company, without first effectively verifying the identity of the caller. Credit card companies or banks are unlikely to request sensitive financial information over the phone unless you were the one who initiated the call.

If you do receive such an unsolicited call, the safest course of action is to:

  1. Ask for the caller's name and department details and then terminate the call.
  2. Find a legitimate contact number for the company either in a bill or other official documentation or a telephone directory. (Don't use a contact number provided by the caller).
  3. Call the company and ask to speak to the original caller by name.
This strategy should effectively derail any scam attempts and also allow you to deal with the issue in the event that the call was actually legitimate.

A key factor regarding this scheme is that it can only work if the scammer already has your credit card number and contact details. In other words, regardless of the success or failure of the scheme, your financial security has already been compromised. Thus, if you do receive a security code scam call like the one described, recognizing it as a scam and terminating the call is only part of the solution. Naturally, you should also immediately inform your credit card issuer that the security of your card may have been compromised and take any other steps necessary to protect yourself from credit card fraud and identity theft.


Thanks to Andrea for forwarding the scam email.

Stay safe everybody.

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