On Wednesday, the last day of 2008, I recieved an email from a friend regarding a credit card scam affecting Visa and MasterCard holders. Now, I’ve been using the Internet for over 15 years now so I’ve seen most of the scams and hoaxes out there, which has made me scpetical about a lot of things I recieve via email – always taking them with a pinch of salt.
It outlines a case of someone having been scammed by being allegedly called by a security department representative of Visa or MasterCard informing the caller that they’ve noticed irregular transactions on the card-holder’s credit card and want to verify some information. They don’t ask you for any information in the beginning, in fact, they provide you with all your correct information, like address, credit card number, expiry date, etc, which they already have and to make the call sound more legitimate. Then the only piece of information they ask you for, so that they can “confirm it” are the 3 security digits (CVV2/CVC2) printed on the back of the card.
Now, this is where the scam comes in and this is the only other piece of information they need to make manual (card holder not present) transactions without your knowledge.
If the scam is believable, which it sounds like it very well could be since there’s so much identity theft out there already, you should be cautious and worried.
However, just do a quick search on Google for “credit card fraud scam visa mastercard phone” and you’ll come up with over 46,000 results. Notice, I didn’t add the word “hoax” to the results, yet your top results are sites like HoaxBuster, Hoax-Slayer, Sophos and Snopes.
Snopes, is usually my first port-of-call when I get these types of emails – yes, this one is plausible (just look at the Snopes article and you’ll see why), but since neither MasterCard nor Visa provide actual statistical information or corroboration of this, it remains a hoax.
It’s just like all those our 411/419 type scams out there, just use your head and a little bit of logic, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.