As the economy continues to flounder, crooks seem to get more inventive with ways to scam regular folks out of their hard-earned cash. This one showed up in my Inbox recently and appears to be a fairly easy one to fall for:

It works like this: Person calling says, “This is (any name) 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 issued by (name) 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 800-number listed on your card and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control #”. Then he gives you a 6-digit number. “Do you need me to read it again?” Caller then says he “needs to verify you are in possession of your card. Turn the card over. There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are 1234 (or whatever) and the next 3 are the security numbers that verify you are in possession of the card. These are the numbers you use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. Read me the 3 numbers.” Then he says, “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? Don’t hesitate to call back if you do.”

You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the card number. But it’s a scam and a new purchase of $497.99 has just been put on your card.

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