How to protect yourself from credit card fraud, identity theft, and fake Medicare prescription drug cards. Internet ScamBusters #75
It seems to be spring across the country these days -- but flowers aren't the only things that are blossoming. New scams seem to be in full bloom, too. We'll tell you about three new ones in this issue.
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Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft -- A New Spin
Identity thieves are now calling credit card holders and posing as fraud troubleshooters for major credit card providers.
They tell unsuspecting victims that they are investigating a potential fraudulent charge that has been made to their account, and they offer to help the card holder reverse the charge and get a credit.
All you have to do is 'verify' your credit card information.
Of course, these scammers then use that information to do the very thing they claim someone else already did -- make fraudulent charges against your card, or steal your identity!
Here's an example: The scamster calls to find out if you purchased a particular piece of hardware, and sometimes they mention a specific company. They say that there has been a lot of fraud related to this item.
When you say you haven't purchased the item, they scammer lets you know that a fraud investigation has been started, and that you'll receive credit for the purchase. Some scammers sound so legitimate they actually offer up a 'case number' for your records.
The scamsters goal is to gain your trust. They then ask to 'verify' your billing address. Next, they may ask if you still have the card in your possession, and if so, if you could read back the account number and expiration date.
Once again, our advice is: NEVER give your credit card details -- or other personal information -- to strangers over the phone or via email. Your credit card company already knows them!
Fake Medicare Prescription Drug Cards
If you're not old enough for this to apply to you, tell your parents and grandparents about this one:
Starting this month, private medical insurers will be issuing Medicare prescription drug discount cards for a program that will start in June, primarily for seniors. These cards will offer a 10% to 25% discount on prescription drugs.
These cards will be good until at least 12/31/05 when the Medicare's new prescription drug benefit begins.
But scam artists, in the latest clever attempt to separate you from your money, have already begun calling people now, to 'collect the information' they say is necessary in order for you to obtain the card.
Instead, they're using the info they're collecting to register for credit cards in victim's names... or steal money from their bank accounts.
The real cards will cost no more than $30 -- and you don't pay any enrollment fee if you qualify for a $600 credit (see publication #1 listed below).
You can find out more about the legitimate program on Medicare's website at:
There are a number of publications you can get about these cards, all in pdf format. Here are two:
1. Introducing Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Cards. You'll find a brief overview of the new Medicare-approved drug discount cards, as well as info on whether you qualify for a $600 credit. (4 pages)
2. Guide to Choosing a Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card. This booklet provides information on who can get a card, how they work, and how to choose the best card for you. (36 pages)
FDIC Email Scam
If you get an official-looking email from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) -- including the FDIC logo -- telling you that the Department of Homeland Security has suspended insurance on your bank account due to suspected violations of the Patriot Act (which is the US anti-terrorism law), don't respond!
This is just another attempt to get access to your personal information.
The email, of course, asks the recipient to provide lots of personal information, including bank account information. It also includes a link to a bogus website that supposedly belongs to the FDIC (it doesn't).
If you receive this email, you can contact the real FDIC at email@example.com for further information.