April 14, 2008
A new kind of telephone scam is taking advantage of people's awareness
of credit card fraud, police warn.
Ottawa police Sgt. Mike McCormick said fraudsters are now calling
customers claiming to be from the fraud department of their credit card
"We know as a general public that there's a lot of fraudulent activity
on credit cards and debit cards, so when we start hearing . your
financial institution calling you ask you for specific information and
providing information that nobody else should know, it brings down our
wariness," said McCormick, who is with the organized fraud section.
He said investigators are seeing a steep increase in reports of a scam
in which a caller names an unusual big-ticket item and asks if the
customer has recently purchased it.
When the customer says no, the caller says the company involved has been
cropping up in a lot of suspicious transactions.
The caller provides a reference number for the customer's file and give
the customer a 1-800 number to call.
He or she also asks the customer to confirm that they still have the
card by providing the three-digit security code marked on the back.
Fraud investigators say no legitimate credit card company will ask you
for that code.
McCormick said the fraudster typically already has your address and
credit card number, usually from dumpster diving for receipts and bills.
RCMP Corp. Louis Robertson, head of criminal intelligence at
Phonebusters, a joint RCMP-OPP unit aimed at phone fraud, said customers
can take measures to protect themselves.
"If you go to any store, you can buy a shredding machine for $20 to
$25," Robertson said. "I think it would be a great, great investment."
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