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Credit card scam?

Posted by JudyS on 3/31/05 at 00:43 (172242)

I thought I'd share an experience I had last week with a VISA Debit card drawn on my cedit union. While I was in Tucson I used that VISA/Debit card-one that I use very, very rarely. I used it at Safeway and again at Target a day later.

A few days after I got home I got a phone call from someone who was from a VISA security agency. She said my account had been 'red-flagged' because someone had tried to use it to charge train tickets in Europe! The purchase was denied (presumably because the perpetrator didn't know the card's exp. date) and the red flag went up prompting the call to me. The young woman who called me said the VISA capability of the card would be terminated and I'd have to contact my credit union to deal with the Debit function of the card. I later verified that she was authentic and that the card had been closed.

Then, about two days later, I got an email from an address called (email removed) saying that they were aware of fradulent use of my card in Europe so they were going to limit my purchases to $100 and would close my account immediately if I didn't respond by clicking on a link provided in the email. I didn't click. Instead I went and found a Mellon Bank website and emailed them asking if they'd sent that email. They said no! They said it was a fraudulent email called 'phishing' and I should disregard it.

So I ask you.......how did my card number get used in Europe and how did they know my email address? Was someone looking over my shoulder in Target? My credit union rep said it was more likely that a clerk in one of those stores took down the number and sold it.

How disconcerting is that? One more reason not to bother using a credit card!

Re: Credit card scam?

Julie on 3/31/05 at 01:39 (172246)

Judy, last year I had the strange experience of a credit card I'd applied for being used to draw funds from the account even before the card reached me. I discovered this by luck when I went to a machine the day after it arrived to change the pin number. I was sure it had been an inside job, but the person who dealt with the matter at the card company said no, that the clever fraudsters have ways of cloning numbers, so that they can access accounts without the cards themselves and without the kind of fraud the rep described to you.

It's very alarming - and apart from anything else so time-consuming when it happens. I can't imagine how they got your email address, but it's good you didn't click. Could the email have been a coincidence?

Re: Credit card scam?

Richard, C.Ped on 3/31/05 at 08:35 (172256)

There are truly evil people out there.

Re: Credit card scam?

Tina H on 3/31/05 at 10:08 (172266)

Judy, Thanks for sharing this. You were smart not to have clicked, I might have fallen for that, but should it happen to me, won't now because of your post. Thank you, Tina

Re: Credit card scam?

John H on 3/31/05 at 10:18 (172269)

As far as I know banks DO NOT ask for any information by eMail so any request you receive by eMail from your bank should first be answered with a phone call. Last year I had a phone call from a merchant in NYC asking if I had made a purchase for an expensive camera to be shipped to Florida. I advised him no and he said then someone was trying to used my card fradulently. I notified my credit card bank and a major credit card service to put out a warning on any purchases on this card. I did not have any charges made against it. Since I have enrolled in one of the credit card reporting services programs. They advise me monthly or as needed if any activity that exceeds my normal purchase pattern. They advise me if anyone tries to open a new credit card account in my name. I can go into their website and look at all purchases made in my name and reported by the reporting companies at any time. Surprising how fast stores report your balances to the credit report companies such as Equifax. They are really on top of your credit.

Re: Credit card scam?

Suzanne D. on 3/31/05 at 18:43 (172327)

Judy, isn't it amazing how many ways people find to try to pull a scam? We had a call a few months ago concerning our credit card and some recent purchase. The caller talked to my husband and didn't specify what was bought or where. We then received two or three official-looking e-mails telling us to click and then provide information which was vital in securing our credit.

We didn't click, either, and my husband talked to someone with the company who said that this was not official. We then learned also about 'phishing'.

Someone always seems ready to try to use the internet for a scam. Our church now has a website with announcements and helpful information for those who attend or might like to do so, and since that has begun, we have had many e-mails from people stating that they want to give to our church if we will provide an address where they can send money or a bank to link up with, etc., etc. They usually state they are in a foreign country and have come into money and want to send it to us as 'the Lord has guided them to us' or something like that. Those e-mails began about two days after our site was established.

Good thinking on your part in how you handled this situation!
Suzanne :)

Re: Credit card scam?

marie on 4/01/05 at 17:23 (172391)

That's scarey! I wonder how they got your emqil???? How would a clerk find that. Unless you're listed in a email directory.......I hope you don't use your full name in your email. Yikes that creeps me out.


Re: Credit card scams and other fraud

Necee on 4/01/05 at 23:03 (172411)

We use one credit card and use it quite often, we pay the balance off every month, the reason we charge so much is at the end of the year we get money back, we don't pay a yearly membership, so using the card doesn't cost us a penny......the more I hear about credit card fraud makes me very leary of using the card at all. Since I never hand over my card to any cashier, etc, most places I shop have those things where you keep the card in your possession and swipe it yourself, I'm wondering how it's possible for someone to retrieve your card number that way.....only a criminal mind could figure it out I guess.

I'm constantly getting emails regarding Ebay, these emails say that unless I respond and update my information I will be terminated from using Ebay. Well, I contacted Ebays security dept, they informed me that this was a fake, and to not respond, which I didn't. So if any of you ever get an email like that from Ebay, just delete it.

Another upsetting but different situation......since we recently moved and have a new address and phone number, we are getting all kinds of phone calls from solicitors. They somehow know we have a new number and want to sell us newspaper subscriptions, etc. The only way that they know our number is via our phone service provider.....what an invasion!

Happy trails.....


Re: Credit card scam?

JudyS on 4/02/05 at 00:54 (172412)

Good point Marie - my full name is before the @ in my email address. That's how the server (our college) sets them up. Do you 'spose it was that easy for someone to make the connection? The rep at my credit union said that these kinds of perpetrators are highly organized.

Re: Credit card scams and other fraud

JudyS on 4/02/05 at 00:59 (172414)

Definately an invasion Necee! You'd think that having a new number would been a new beginning of sorts but I guess not.

I guess I didn't realize that you've made your move. How is it so far? Are you tickled pink? Any new photos for us?

Re: Credit card scams and other fraud

Necee on 4/02/05 at 23:38 (172470)

Yes Judy, I'm thrilled with the move. It's wonderful waking up every morning with a view of cows grazing in the pastures.

Everything is unpacked and put away, but there are a few pictures left to hang....I just can't seem to decide on where to put them.
I've spent the last few days shopping for new bedspreads and valances for the windows, thats the fun part!

I've taken lots of pictures and hope to get them on shutterfly soon....I'll let ya know when.

I remember how excited you were when you did your renovation to your house, just having everything finally completed, and being able to relax and enjoy it all is so much fun.

Take care and keep in touch.

Happy trails....


Re: Your new house...

Suzanne D. on 4/03/05 at 07:54 (172478)

I'm so happy for you, Necee, and glad to hear you are enjoying your new home! I helped my daughter and her husband move into a new house this past week while we were out of school. I can honestly say I can't remember being as tired as I was at the end of one long day! Their old house was in a crowded subdivision in town, and the new house is 7 miles from that one, but on almost two acres of land. You can hear the frogs croaking in a pond nearby, and it is a very different setting. I am happy for them, too.

Take care, and I'll look forward to seeing pictures soon!
Suzanne :)