The phone rings. It’s someone from your credit card company. He knows your name and address, so it sounds legitimate. He tells you that an unusual purchase was made on your card and he needs to verify that the card is still in your possession. He asks you to read the last three digits on the back of your card. What should you do?
Credit card companies do call their customers if they suspect fraudulent activity, but you should be cautious about giving any information over the phone. How can you tell if the call is legitimate?
- The credit card company should never ask you to read information off your card. What should you do if that happens? Hang up and call the 1-800 number found on the back of your card. If there really is a problem, your account will be flagged and any employee at the credit card company will be able to help you. NEVER use the number given to you by the caller or the number on your phone’s caller ID. You would just be calling the person who tried to scam you.
- If you don’t know the person calling, you should be cautious. The bank called for my driver’s license number after I opened a new account. I know my branch manager, but I didn’t know the caller. I told him I would bring my license the next time I was at the branch and he understood. It doesn’t matter that the call was legitimate. I was smart to be cautious with my personal information.
- If the caller pressures you to stay on the phone and answer questions, it is probably someone trying to scam you. Any real credit card employee will understand when you tell them you’re going to call the phone number found on your card or statement. Your credit company wants you to take every step to protect your identity.
Credit card companies do call customers when they suspect your card has been stolen. You may wonder what type of activity triggers a fraud check. Credit card companies work with patterns. Any change in your buying habits could trigger a call. They might have noticed…
- A lot of new charges in a very short period of time
- That you purchased something from a company that receives a lot of fraud complaints.
- That you purchased items, in person, in a different country or state.
If you want to prevent these types of calls, you can call ahead and tell them when your patterns are going to change. You can call to let them know when you’re going on vacation or that you will be making a large purchase. The vacation call can be useful if you’re going to a big tourist destination. If the credit card company knows the date of your return, they can flag unusual purchases made after the fact. A common scam in tourist locations is for clerks to note your card numbers and use them after you leave.
Bottom line, don’t fear calls from your credit card company. They want to protect you and your account. But, remember to take precautions, just in case it is a fraudulent call.