Thanks to the BC RCMP for giving us a head’s up about a new credit card scam going around. Read on for all the details on how to protect yourself from this crafty con.

An overview of the scam

You get a call from someone who identifies him or herself as working in the security and fraud department at your credit card company. They’ve supposedly flagged your account due to unusual purchase activity and are calling to verify that your card hasn’t been compromised. They then ask if you’ve made a particular purchase – once you reply that you haven’t, they assure you that they will issue you a credit. To verify the credit, the caller recites your home address (correctly) and asks to call the 1-800 number on the back of your card if you have questions. Finally, they ask you to prove that you are in possession of the credit card by asking you to read out the last three numbers on the back of your card (the security numbers). After you do this, they respond that you are correct, thank you, and hang up. No biggie, right? WRONG!

How the scam works

The scammer already knows a great deal about you (including your address, phone number and credit card number) and is really after those last three digits on the back of your credit card. They build trust by doing most of the talking – in fact, you didn’t provide any info aside from those three numbers!

How to protect yourself from credit card scams

  1. Keep your credit card information safe. Only share your credit card number or other sensitive information during calls you initiate to the telephone number of the back of your credit card.
  2. Shred, shred, shred. Destroy anything that has your credit card number on it to avoid theft. But before you shred your billing statement, check to ensure you don’t have any odd charges.
  3. Be careful online. Don’t click on email links from anyone pretending to be your bank or credit card company, even if the email looks legitimate, as it could be a phishing scam. Also, only enter your credit card number on secure websites that you can be 100% sure are legit.