Unlocking the code

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 ftc.gov/complaint 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 ftc.gov/complaint. 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

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!


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