Keep An Eye Out For The Visa Security Phone Scam

I have become aware of a new scam that is phone based, but quickly migrates to your computer if you fall for it. Here’s how the scam works:

  • You get a phone call and you hear a recorded voice (though I have heard instances of a live person doing the same thing) claiming to be from “Visa Security” claiming that you have two charges that are suspicious. One is from Amazon. The other is from International Gift Card Company. Which is a company I have never heard of. Though I have heard that eBay and other companies have been referenced in the scam.
  • You will be then asked 1 to accept these charges, or 2 to dispute them.
  • Regardless of which option you choose, you will be connected to a human who will pretend to verify some info. Then you will be instructed to power on your computer and grant them remote access so that they can “review” your transactions online.

Here’s why this is a scam:

  1. Visa as a company will never, ever call you. That’s because it’s your bank’s responsibility to hunt down fraud and not Visa’s. So if you are getting a call from Visa (or MasterCard for that matter). Hang up.
  2. Calls of these sort are never, ever automated.
  3. Nobody will ever require remote access to your computer to investigate credit card fraud.

Now this isn’t the only form that this scam takes. Here are a few other versions of the scam that I am aware of:

  • Call-back request: The caller may ask you to call the 1-800 number on the back of your card to prove to you the call is legit. When you hang up, however, the call is not immediately disconnected because there is a 5 to 25 second disconnect delay on landline calls in Canada. To really fool you, the caller even plays a recording of a dial tone to make you think you are placing a new call but, the scammers are still on the line. When they “answer” your call, they redirect you to an imposter who may ask you to transfer funds to an external, supposedly “safer”, bank account (that belongs to them) while the “investigation” is taking place. To protect yourself, physically hang up your phone and then either use your cell phone to call the number on the back of your card, or wait five or ten minutes before calling the number on the back of your card.
  • Information Verification Request: To verify that they are speaking to the right person, the caller recites your home address (correctly) and says you can call the 1-800 number on the back of your card later if you have questions. Finally, they ask you to prove that you are in possession of the credit card by asking you to read out the card number, expiry date, and the three- or four-digit CVV (Card Verification Value) security number on the back of your card. After you do this, they respond that you are correct, thank you and hang up. And you have just been pwned. I should note that sometimes the scammers already have the card number and the expiry date and they simply need the CCV number from you. To protect yourself, never, ever hand over any credit card info over the phone to anyone that calls you out of the blue.
  • Investigation-assistance request: Other victims are asked to “help” catch the criminal by accepting a deposit and transferring on it to another account. The deposit, however, is fake. Which means victims end up transferring their own money to the scammers. To protect yourself, never agree to be part of any “investigation” and never transfer money to anyone that asks you to do so.

Like always, you need to keep your eye out for these scams as they can really hurt if you get caught up in one. But if you have any doubt, simply hang up and move on with your day. It’s better to do that than to be taken advantage of.

One Response to “Keep An Eye Out For The Visa Security Phone Scam”

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