Consumer 6: Credit Card Thieves Ready To Pounce Over the Telephone

Friday, December 17th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Millions of people charge billions of dollars on credit cards each year. The Better Business Bureau and other consumer groups have issued a warning about the thousands of thieves trying to steal credit card account numbers with a telephone. "Last Friday, Pitt received a telephone call from Discover,” said credit card customer Marilyn Legate. “They told him they wanted to know where he was born and his birth date. Now that didn't make any sense."

So Legate got on the phone and started asking questions. "The lady asked me my expiration date and she told me she would wait on the line while I went to get the information. I told her if you are Discover Card company, all you would have to do is pull the information up on the computer."

Legate hung up and called Discover. They confirmed her suspicions, telling her they did not make the call and that she did the right thing by hanging up.

Consumer groups say it's a common scam. Thieves use a telephone to try to trick people into giving them account numbers. They usually target seniors and often call during the holidays. "The fraud is much more prevalent in the holiday season, especially with the Y2K scams,” said consumer credit counselor Meredith Exline. “Usually they are the same types of fraud with just a little different spin on them."

Consumer Credit Counseling says banks and credit card companies do not ask for account numbers over the phone. "A creditor or a bank is going to have their account number,” said Exline. “There is no reason to give that number over the phone. You should not to be forced into making a hurried decision."

If you do give out the information, call the police right away. Then call your credit card company, so you don't end up paying for a simple mistake.