34ºF

Ruth to the Rescue: How to spot a credit card scammer

photo

It's always a heart-sinking moment when you receive a call from your credit card company stating that you have had fraudulent activity on your account.

Scammers know this all too well and will take advantage of someone who wants to fix the problem. You need to know exactly what to do in this situation.

Retiree Josephine Dervan says one of those calls put her on guard.

"It was an automated call and the first thing they said was your Chase MasterCard debit card has been locked," Dervan said.

She banks with Chase, and decided to keep listening since she was understandably worried about her account.

"If you would like to unlock it press one. So I pressed one. The next message was, your Chase card has been unlocked, to unlock it, put in the card number," Dervan said.

That's when Dervan knew something was up. "And, then I thought, wait a minute. They always tell you do not give your card number unsolicited to anybody who calls, so I immediately hung up," she said.

Dervan checked her card and realized it was a Visa card, not a MasterCard. She then contacted Chase directly.

"When I spoke to someone, she informed me that my account was perfectly good. There were no problems and they did not call me," she said.

3 things you should do

Whenever you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be with a bank or any other company, NEVER give out personal information, or money during that call. Instead take down pertinent information, hang up, and verify the claims with a source you know is legitimate.

For example, call the number on the back of your credit card, so you know you're dealing with the actual bank.

"It's very scary because everywhere you go now there is some other scam. Someone wants to separate you from your money. If I had given him the information on the phone I mean I probably would have had my account wiped out," Dervan said.

More advice to fight scammers

  • Ruth to the Rescue offers these additional tips that may help you fight scam artists trying to steal your money or personal information.
  • If you have caller ID, just stop answering the phone if you don't recognize the number. If it is someone you know, you can always call them back. Simply, ignoring the scam and marketing calls may discourage them from calling. When you answer, the person knows you can be engaged, giving them a chance to find some plea that works on you.
  • NEVER ever give personal information or money to someone over the phone if the phone call is unsolicited.
  • When you receive emails regarding any suspicious matter, NEVER click on any links within that email. The link could launch malware or a virus into your computer.
  • VERIFY any story you hear during an unsolicited call. Contact a number from your statement or find a number you know is legitimate. Do not call the number of the potential scammer, they will only keep up their lies.
  • When you get a call you think is suspicious, do a computer search using some of the key words in the story they person is telling you. Very often you will find news coverage of similar scams and you'll know you have now been targeted.
  • If you're certain a scammer is calling you, contact local police and let them know. If enough people call, they might issue a public alert to help your friends and neighbors.
  • Talk about these potential scams with your friends and neighbors. Knowledge is power. Everyone should talk about these scams so we can all be alert, and ready to fight back!