Ah yes… the holidays. Times for family, food, drink… and scammers!
Elana received an email from her aunt last night that included the above credit card scam “transcript”. It has been checked out by Snopes and looks to be legitimate. Even if it is not legit, Snopes points out that the elements of it certainly are and “anyone who holds a credit card is a potential victim of this type of fraud”.
The scary thing about this scam is just HOW much information the scammers have. They have your name. They have your address. They have your credit card number… minus the security pin which is what they actually want.
These days the scammers are better than ever. They are slick. The phishing sites look real. (My mother-in-law got caught just this weekend. Fortunately something didn’t feel right. I asked her to check the credit card she used and sure enough… she was getting hit by scammers.) The callers sound polished. They are GOOD. Fortunately there is one sure fire way to be safe. It will work. It will be secure. And it won’t cost you anything. You just have to do it… religiously.
The methods is simple. We call it TICTAC- Take Initiative Contacting – Take Initiative Calling
Here’s how it works.
If someone calls you about anything financial ask for their extension. Before you have ANY conversation about ANYTHING hang up. Call the number YOU have on the back of your credit card or account. THEN go to that extension. If the call was legitimate you’ll be reconnected and can go about your business. If the call was a scam you’ll know in seconds. Either way, this one step will make sure you are safe.
Never go to a site through a link shared in an email.Never input information to a site that YOU did not go to YOURSELF. No matter what the site and no matter what the issue close your browser, reopen it, go to the main site for that company or service. From there you can find the department you need and do you business secure in the knowledge that you are actually where you want, and need, to be.
This is the bottom line. The scams are better, slicker and more realistic than ever. Even the most careful person can be taken in. But no matter HOW good they, the scammers are, so long as you back out and then INITIATE the call or web-contact you will be safe.