You are here

Unlocking the code

Share this page

Identity thieves may already have a lot of information about you – like your credit card number, the card’s expiration date, and your name, address, and phone number. With all that information in his hands, why would he call you? He’s after one vital piece of information – the security code on your credit card.

Here’s how the scam works. The scammer says he’s calling from your credit card’s security or fraud department. They’ve flagged some suspicious activity on your card, he says. He makes up a bogus transaction and asks if you authorized it. Of course, you didn’t. So he says he’ll open a fraud investigation, gives you a case reference number, and tells you to call the phone number on your credit card if you have any questions. It all seems fine so far, right?

But, he says, there’s just one more thing. He needs to verify that you are in possession of the card – so he asks you to tell him the security code. And it’s the final piece of the puzzle he’s after.

If you get a call like this:

  • Don’t give the caller any information about your account – even if he already knows some of the details.
  • Hang up the phone. Call the customer service number on the back of your credit card. Talk to the fraud or security department and ask about the unauthorized charges the caller told you about.
  • Report the suspicious call to the FTC at or 1-877-FTC-HELP.
  • Tell your friends, family, neighbors, and others about it. By spreading the word, you can help someone you care about avoid falling for a scam.

Identity thieves will try a lot of different tricks to get your personal information. No matter the story they tell you, don’t give anyone your personal information if you didn’t initiate the contact using contact information you know is trustworthy. And find out what else you can do to protect your personal information from ending up in the wrong hands.


A good article and unfortunately there are lots of folks out there today who will indeed fall for such a scam partly as if the caller where actually from your credit card company, THEY IN TURN WOULD ALREADY HAVE THAT SECURITY CODE THEY ARE CALLING ABOUT!!!!!!

You would think they have the code. And why would they even need the code to confirm fraudulent charges? But, I went through this actual experience today. I called the credit card company directly due to fraudulent charges on my account and THEY asked me for the code. So, how can you know for sure?

I believe the difference is that you made the call.

If YOU called THEM you re safe as long as you called the number the card. when THEY call YOU....BEWARE

Got a call from a number with the same exact scam I'll put that number here because the FTC doesn't do anything about it QUICKLY enough. He number is 866-611-7737

If you would like to report this, please go to We can't address complaints you write about in blog comments.

Pretty sure they were warning other readers because you don't do anything not axtually expecting anything from your worthless agency

For a short time Capital One used that as verification

I have a phone message that says, "The second you receive this call I need you or your retained attorney to return the call. The issue at hand is extremely time sensitive. This is Officer Niki Johnson with the IRS. The hotline to my division is 301-273-1115. Don't disregard this message & do return the call before we take any action against you."

Did you do anything? They've called me a few more times and I just continue to ignore it.

Ha! Niki! Old pal of mine! It's a scam! They IRs doesn't call!

what code

I want to thank you for this notice. I will send it to all my relatives and friends. I had a call like that a year or two ago, that I needed to get in touch with them immediately and to press a 1 on my phone to conmect to them.

I did exactly what you said, got the card out and called that number and asked for security. As it turned out, they called me that day because I not only happened to buy gas in Florida that morning, but there were three other purchases made; one in the Bahamas, one in Ohio, and the third one in Toronto, Canada.

Whomever duplicated my card (I had not lost it), must have sold a lot of them. Thank God for computers, because they knew not to approve the last one - it was for over $600 at Walmart. Because I never carry balances on credit cards, it would have been approved; because there was more than enough to cover the expenses. Because there was already a warning on the account from the first two places and they knew I was in Florida; they did not approve the sale.

Since then I always tell people two things: first, and foremost; don't push any buttons or give out any information on the incoming call, call the number on the back of the card. The second thing was that when they punp their own gas and use a credit card, always use a pump within eye contact to the clerk at the register inside the store; never on an outside pump where he/she can't see you. The crooks who put those gizmos into ATM's and gas pumps to capture the numbers you have to enter, never do it where the person at the register can see them.

Because gas stations are a common place for those to be installed, you might want to put that into a future notice on scams.


I was just scammed by the best, he calls himself Dave Kelly. He offered to pay my bills by giving me two bank acct numbers to show he was the real deal. Well I took them, paid my cc off, and really believed him. Then he asked if I would send $2000 and deposit into BofA acct, which of course I did. I checked the ccs, they all seemed to be paid off, so I believed him. Well lo and behold he had me send him another $250 plus buy 4 phones Glaxay Vs to some boys home he sponors, which I thought was nice, so I did, charged it to my paid off cc. Afterwards I kept asking him when the check would come, he told me it was being dealt with BofA and my bank. So I called them and lo and behold, no one knew anything about it. My cc companies r now telling me that they r being called and my payments have been sent back saying the account has been frozen. Not only did I send them $$, and 4 new phones, I'm actually in debt by $7000 more than I was and am getting billed late charges, and fees for false bank transactions. Beware of anyone who agrees to pay ur cc off, its a scam!!!!!!

These are useful details for a complaint.  Please report your experience at Your complaints help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies bring scam artists to justice. We cannot address complaints if they are submitted through the blog comments.

You ever hear the saying, if it sounds to shady its most likely a scam....Who in there right mind is going to pay someone else's bills and you ever met this person....That spells and screams SCAM

I RECEIVED A CALL FROM THIS NUMBER--484-200-0155--The automated voice says, "this call is from your phone company, please do not hang up while we are testing your line. then asked if your phone is working okay press 1 or not press 2". I disconnected the call and call right back and it was a google voice and asked to leave message....

How do they scammers get all this info?

Awesome to get scammerrs but please lets help each

the number on the card is only 1:1000 or 1:10,000 chances, a good computer program should be able to decode and find that number.

thanks for this valuable reminder

Is it safe, when purchasing on-line to give the 3 digit security number? Many companies will not completemthentransaction without it.

Thank you for sharing this information. It is shared with others. Thanks again.

ok, so...why do we have to give the security code anyway? I was told once to tell the company your purchasing from or anywhere else that you don't need to give that. what do you tell companies who insist on asking for it?

Thanks for the info.

I guess there are still folks out there who have never heard the expression, "If it sounds too good to be true, it is." In 40+ years of credit card use, I've received a total of 2 calls from my provider. In both instances, they told me that my card had been compromised; therefore they cancelled it and were sending me a replacement. I have never paid a cent in fraudulent charges. Call your CC provider, people; they are the only ones not trying to scam you!


Please end this!!!!!!!!!!!!!now

Why? Isn't that the purpose of a blog? So that people will express grievances and solutions?

What do you mean? End what?

I too just received the threatening call from 301 273-1115.

Scams from this number 855 662 4434 many of them....stating that my network is being hacked,,they were threatening, they were rude etc, etc. if you google the number many people are getting calls stating the same thing...why can't they locate these Indian speaking people and get charges on them already? I truly feel sorry for the elderly they are scamming and scaring. I already called FTC over the phone....hopefully they will be caught.

Thank you so much for posting this. I have shared it every where. Yesterday I received 12 strange phone call. 12! in one day! I started thinking that identity theft might be the issue. I'm pulling my credit report next.

im not sure but I think my identity has been stolen..The phone company told me there is no possible way my phone could get hacked I called and also went to the local store but I've been finding wired stuff on my phone but not sure if it's the phone company tricking people's actions??This happened about a year ago and the phone company everything was fine but now I'm finding no money on my reward card that I had and when I tried to log in it wouldn't let me and my phone id and password just all the sudden had never existed on my phone and I've had the same one for over a year?I hope this is what to do because my husband and I don't know how to report it if someone can just act like this is what to do

I've been getting calls from so many numbers that I had to get my number changed. I was on an adult web site. I started to talk with a guy & exchanged #'s. He called me and said he didn't get his unemployment check. I was stupied snd eired him money. Then, of course stopped calling. i did get in touch with him.He was horrible. Said really nasty things. Then threatened me and said he would post naked pics of me unless I gave him more $$. I called the police where I sent the money. They called him. It made him really mad. The things he sent me were just awfull. I called my police. All they can do was call S. Carolina.He called agian. I was out of the country. Asked agian. Started the same thing. Yea, I was dumb. But he was so sweet at first. Now my # is changed. The number is a 402 area code. Last 4 digits 1714. Says it's in Nebraska. But I mailed it to S. Carolina. I am sure he's done it before, many times. Email, initials W. B. may have a 37. G mail acct now. And he uses a Florida drivers license. I have his name. But am scared to post it. Ladies & gentleman. Please beware. If you look him up, he looks like an outstanding person. That is not him. It still can be someone using his name. If you talk with him. It's always about his son. Does not want to talk on a phone. Mostly texts. PLEASE BEWARE.

I have not used yahoo lately& was asked to register didn't again they said I didn't make the age qualification. 12/1/1944 I just turned 70. What up?

I had a contractor in my home steal my debit card & withdraw $1800.00 which was not in my acct. Carter Bank & Trust of Radford VA refused to help me and charged me the money by taking 2 Soc. Sec. checks direct deposited. DO NOT OPEN ACCT. WITH CARTER BANK & TRUST OF RADFORD, VA!

844-210-3666 says I.R.S. is taking legal action & seizing all assets. WHAT?! I've had my identity stolen this year, so thought that was the problem, but REAL I.R.S has posted about these scammers~ beware of ALL unknown calls!

Thank for help

if someone calls tou and ask if this is betty or bob or whatever your name may be never sat yes instead say who is callineg good chance that you are being recorded and when you say yes you dont know what you are agreeing to.....

Received a letter no name that says Funeral Advantage Program Assists Seniors.
Mail the Postage-paid information request card below. We are pleased to announce. You may qualify for the Funeral Advantage Program where by Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company will pay your family in the event of your death a cash benefit up to $20,000.00 TAX FREE. Many California Residents age 40-85 have been accepted so far for this program--created to help pay for one's funeral and any other final expenses.
To see if you qualify, mail this postage-paid card today. There is no charge for this information. Currently, you may qualify even if you have a health condition. MAIL TODAY Requests received after 15 days may not be processed. It has all my information except age area code phone number. Box to check Please see that I receive the final expense life insurance plan information that I requested as soon as possible. Mail to PROCESSING CENTER. Is this legitimate?

You're smart to check on a company before you give them personal or financial information. You can check with your state Attorney General or local consumer protection agencies to find out about a company. Or go online and type the company name into the search bar and see what people say about the company.

Scammers can use made-up names so it seems like they're connected with the government or a government program. Don't give money or personal or financial information to someone you don't know, even if they say you're eligible for some benefit, or for a grant or other reward.

Scams! The bank does not call you on the phone to offer you money, You go to the bank for money..
ANYONE WHO KNOCKS AT YOUR DOOR, IS usually up to no good. Good luck and learn to say NO! or do not respond. On the websites - if it says "FREE", this is too good to be true.
The companies who stole my identity assigned it to a global criminalist so stay off the Multicultural sites, including books that are totally fraudulent and come back to my identity since the credit bureaus assigned, altered and continue to change reports assigning my name and furnishing this old neighbor of crime my good credit and personal information and now we have a huge global problem to which I hold a lot of evidence and I want this crud of banker boxes and all the bull out of my home and life. This will never be out of my life due to the other millions of victims.. My health is bad and I need to finish and help out but, the fraud watch and tracking is also a huge scam! Just wait, I need to get back to sending off a few boxes to the FTC and others, Buyer be ware, It is obvious to the companies that you are tagged with Identity thief and fraud but, they will still charge you for their service and add a whole lot more fraud and theft to your file of life. Good Luck!

If someone is mis-using your personal information, go to for help making a plan to deal with that. Find out how to file an identity theft report, order your free credit reports, and dispute charges that don't belong to you.

Just by using common sense, we can avoid such unfortunate incidents.


I need my 6 didget code?

Leave a Comment