Credit Card Scam in Montana
Dear Fellow Montanan,
I am writing today to alert you to a sophisticated credit card scam that is targeting Montanans.
It works like this:
- A caller phones you and claims to be with your credit card company. The caller claims unusual charges have been made on your account and he or she wants to “verify” them. The caller usually lists three or four charges, totaling thousands of dollars, and asks if they are correct.
- The caller then says he or she believes you have been the victim of credit card fraud and gives you a number to call to “clear up” the charges – a number that will only draw you further into the scam.
- The scam takes several forms. In the one circulating in Montana now, the person who answers your call eventually claims to have cleared your account of the charges. Some victims have been asked to call back more than once to give the individual “time to investigate” and clear the fraudulent charges from your account.
- At some point, the scammer asks for your credit card number and three-digit security code. In other versions of the scam, the caller already has your credit card number and is seeking only your three-digit security code. Once the scammer has that information, he or she begins to charge things on your card.
Betty Husted of Missoula was hit by this scam last month and shared her story with my office here. [link] This scam succeeds because it sounds real. Many of us have received legitimate calls from a credit or debit card company making protective inquiries into our accounts.
Be suspicious of anyone who requests your credit card number, security code or card expiration date over the phone. Many banks monitor their customers’ credit cards for unusual activity and will contact a customer if they suspect fraud has been committed, but banks never ask for your personal credit card information over the phone. They don’t need that information; they already have it. If you receive a phone call about suspected credit card fraud, do not give out your personal credit card information. If at any point, you become suspicious of the call, hang up and call the 1-800 number on your credit card or the number of the bank that issued the card.
Please forward this information on to others. Scams move quickly and the best way to defeat them is through information to prevent them before they occur.
If you or someone you know has been targeted by this scam, please contact my Office of Consumer Protection at 1-800-481-6896 and report it. You can also report scams online here at our website.
Thanks for your time,
Montana Attorney General