A Low Tech Suggestion to Protect Yourself from Internet and Credit Card Scammers

Ah yes… the holidays. Times for family, food, drink… and scammers!

snopes.com_ Visa Fraud Investigation Scam.jpg

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.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.

5 Comments on "A Low Tech Suggestion to Protect Yourself from Internet and Credit Card Scammers"

  1. Better still, if anyone asks for your CVC code (that number on the back of the card) or your PIN, hang up. The bank already has this encrypted somewhere on their system. They never will ask for the information. They will also never e-mail you about something unless you were just on their website and changed something like your password or other information.

    This has been my experience anyway. If it sounds phishy, it is.

    • Exactly what I said Joel. None of these companies, credit card, Pay Pal, Ebay etc. will ever call, e-mail, text etc. to ask your for information like passwords, PIN numbers, security numbers etc. Never. If someone does ask they are attempting to fraud you.

      • Very true guys BUT if you make this your policy across the board, if you
        always and consistently do this with every financial call or email
        solicitation you will never get defrauded not matter how slick ploys become
        in the future.

        • I think the point both Joel and I are tying to make is while this is a great strategy to take it may be an unnecessary one. It's sort of like some telling you the sky is falling and you calling a scientist a verify it's not. You know it's not, you know it can't possibly be, so why verify? I don't mean to say what you're suggesting isn't smart I just think doing it every time you get one of these calls might not be worth your time.

          • Like I said, the point is well taken. At the same time, I tend to be
            rather careful yet I was the one who told my mother-in-law that the
            online purchase was okay to make. Had I employed this approach I would
            have saved her a lot of grief. After that experience I would rather
            use a canon to shoot a moquito. 🙂

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