In the Latest Credit Card Scam the Fraudster Already Has Your Credit Card Number-Truth!

In the Latest Credit Card Scam the Fraudster Already Has Your Credit Card Number – Truth!

Summary of eRumor: 

A chain email warns about the latest credit card scam in which a fraudster poses as someone from a credit card company and asks the cardholder for their card’s three-digit security code.

The Truth: 

This scam is real, but it isn’t new.

This type of fraud is called “phishing.” It happens when a fraudster poses as a company or government agency to get a victim to give up personal information.

This eRumor deals with a specific type of phishing that is called “spear phishing.” That happens when a scammer already has some personal information — like a name or credit card number — and uses it to get a victim to give up even more personal information, the Royal Bank of Canada reports:

“A recent rise in data breaches involving email marketing providers has resulted in a large volume of names and email addresses being accessed by fraudsters. This type of data breach opens the door to a specific type of convincing email scam called ‘spear phishing,’ where the sender can identify you by name and send an email that appears to be from a company that you deal with. The goal is to get you to open the email and provide the fraudsters with your personal information.”

A telephone version of the spear phishing scam surfaced in West Virginia in 2010. The West Virginia Office of Technology issued a scam alert that warned fraudsters had posed as Visa and Master Card representatives and asked cardholders for their three-digit security code in order to investigate a fraudulent purchase.

That scam alert is the exact same text that appears in the chain email that is marking the rounds on the web.

If a fraudster already has a victim’s credit card number but not the three-digit security code on the back of the card, they will be unable to use the card to make online purchases. That’s why cardholders should never give up their security code over the phone, according to Visa:

“The three-digit security code shown on the back of your Visa card lets merchants know that you’re physically holding the card when you make a purchase online or over the phone. It’s yet another layer of protection Visa implements to prevent fraud before it happens.”

Credit card companies say that consumers should never reveal personal information over the phone. Cardholders should hang up and call the 800-number on the back of their credit card if they receive a suspicious phone call from the company.