The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

26 October 2005

Thieves getting nervy

Jan reports on a new scam to separate you from your credit line:

The caller then says, "I need to verify you are in possession of your card". He'll ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers". There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the security numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, "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?" After you say No, the caller then thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back if you do", and hangs up.

You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was charged to our card.

Well, not her card, actually; she's just passing on a report.

The CVV is three digits on the back of your Visa, MasterCard or Discover Card, or four digits on the front of your American Express Card. This number is based on the information in the magnetic strip of the card, and cannot be derived from the account number itself; this is why thieves will try to get it out of you, since if they have both the account number and the CVV it will be assumed that they have the actual card and purchases they make will most likely not be questioned. (And if the merchant requires the CVV, as all online merchants really should by now, there's a 1-in-1000 chance of someone guessing it.)

Posted at 4:16 PM to Common Cents , Scams and Spams


The caller then says, "I need to verify you are in possession of your card".

To which one retorts, "Why would you think I'm not? Has there been unusual activity on my card number? Gee, maybe you'd better go ahead and cancel it. ... You can't? Then let me hang up and I'll call the phone number on my card to take care of that."

Posted by: McGehee at 10:00 AM on 27 October 2005

I should be immune to these, since I practically never answer the phone.

Posted by: CGHill at 10:32 AM on 27 October 2005