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Current Credit Card Scam

Credit-card holders are being warned to be

wary of a new scam that on the surface appears legitimate, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Cardholders receive a call from a person claiming to be from the Security and Fraud Department of your credit card company. The caller already has your credit card number and address and says your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and they are calling to verify these purchases.

The caller continues to verify information and asks if you have purchased an item and then gives the amount. When you say "no," the caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?" When you respond "yes," the caller continues by saying they will be starting a fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1-800 number listed on the back of your card and ask for security.

The call continues to sound legitimate as the caller will give you a six-digit number that you will need to refer to when calling the toll free number. After giving you the number they even ask if you need it to be read to you again? Now that the caller has made you feel comfortable they then ask if you are in possession of the card. They then ask you to turn your card over and look for the security numbers on the back of the card. These are the numbers credit card holders sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the three numbers to them. After you tell the caller the three numbers, they will say, that is correct, and they just needed the information to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen. They then end the phone call.

The suspect/caller now has your credit card number along with the security card verification numbers enabling them to use the card for any number of online or phone orders.

The Sheriff's Office reminds residents that the best way to avoid these types of telephone scams is to avoid giving sensitive credit card information over the phone. If it is necessary to provide such information always verify the identities of the person on the phone. If you are contacted by phone about your credit card, ask the caller to provide his name, department and extension, then hang up and call him back through the phone number listed on your credit card or billing statement.

At this time there have been no reports of this type of scam being conducted in the county. If you feel you have been a victim of fraud you should call the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office or your local law-enforcement agency.