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Dale Gribow March 7, 2015

The VISA Fraud/Scam, like so many I have discussed in the last month or so, involves a caller claiming to be someone they are not. I warned my readers last week, that When the IRS Calls to Hang UP. This is because the IRS like Visa does not call, they write.

Some phony callers claim to be with law enforcement and your caller ID may support that claim. They notify you that you did not show for jury duty and they need you to send a money order to clear it up.

I previously shared the rental property scams occurring during the Tennis, Stagecoach and Coachella events. Properties are advertised for rent but sometimes NOT BY THE REAL OWNER. The alleged owner asks the renter to send a money order for the rental or to check credit.

THE VETERAN FRAUD scam involves invitation to a free lunch or dinner to be "educated" and then sold a product like an annuity. A case just filed in the last 2 months involves a 90 year old Rancho Mirage lady whose investments were paying her 8% per year. The stock broker sold her a 10 year Annuity paying less than 1%. There was very little chance of her living that 10 year period. She never knew he was a stock broker as required by law. If this happens to you or a friend call the Veteran Fraud Hotline 760-837-7500.

The purpose of this week’s column is to provide a heads up to my CV Weekly readers, regarding the latest in a Visa/MasterCard Fraud. This scam is sweeping across the country from the Midwest and should be here before summer. A caller will provide YOU with all the card information, except the one piece they want.

You will not be asked for your VISA card number because they already have it. The caller says – ‘This is Mr. Jones 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 Arizona?’

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 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 then gives you a 6 digit number. ‘Do you need me to read it again?’

The IMPORTANT part of the scam is when the caller 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 last 3 are the Security PIN Numbers that verify you are in possession of the card.

These PIN numbers are used to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the last 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.

If you do call back The REAL VISA Security Department they will advise you it was a scam and that a charge of under $500 was just made. Of course you will be issued a new VISA number and your maximum legal exposure is still $50.

All the Scammer wants is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don’t give it to them. Instead, tell them you’ll call VISA or Master Card directly for verification of their conversation.

VISA will never ask for anything on the card, as they already know the information, since they issued the card! If you give the Scammer your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think you’re receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you’ll see charges for purchases you didn’t make, and by then it’s almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.

The police are receiving several of these reports daily!

It appears that this is a very active scam, and evidently quite successful…so share this information with your friends. Hopefully this "knowledge is power" for you and your friends….when you share this with them.