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Credit Card Phishing

By Will from Holland

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"Very good. We're going to start a fraud investigation immediately. We'll also be crediting back the $1480.73 to your account."


"We have all the information we need. But would you please verify the three-digit code on the back of your card? This proves you have the card in your possession."

Well, they already have your credit card number and your life story, including Fire Plug. And you've been asked for that three-digit number before from legit companies. So what do you do? You turn over the card and read the three-digit number to the caller.

"Thank you for helping us. Now, can you write this down? Your case number is 485620."

You write the number on the back of your hand with a magic marker.

"Thank you for your cooperation. You can always call us at 1-800-SCAM. Just give your case number, and we'll be able to answer any of your questions at a later date."

You hang up feeling pretty good. You, by being careful, stopped a scam on your credit card account. Excellent!

Except there's one problem: this was a scam.

  • The scam artists bought all the information on you legitimately.
  • They even got the name of your pet from a legitimate company that buys names of pets from veterinarians. Scammers know people use their pet's names for passwords.

Within a minute of hanging up, the scammers "slam" your credit card with thousands of dollars in charges. Even though you aren't at fault, your credit will be ruined for months.

Why did this happen? You broke the three main rules of scam protection:

  1. You trusted the scammer because they knew so much about you. These days, scammers can buy your life story; don't be impressed with strangers who know about Fire Plug.
  2. You talked with the "fraud" person who called YOU rather than calling back the number on your credit card. Never give financial information to people who call you. Always call the number on your card!
  3. You gave out the three-digit number on the back of your card without thinking. Unless you are initiating a call, do not give out this three-digit number! It's the most important piece of information on your card. Why? The scammers have all the information they need to make charges to your account, except this number!

There are plenty of scams like this aimed at you. Check out these links. And think about renaming your dog…or at least changing your password!

Cheers, Will.

ID Theft:

Credit Cards:

Other Scams:

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