Visa scammers hit UK phones

Playing the numbers game

Credit card fraudsters are trying to fleece UK punters by tricking them into revealing card security information over the phone. The fraudsters, posing as representatives of Visa, are already is possession of card numbers and are after the CVV numbers (commonly printed on the signature panel on the back of the card) often needed to make purchases online.

Scammers claim that they are phoning about a suspicious transaction. They confirm that the holder has not made the transaction and say that a credit will be made to their account. At no point do they ask users for their account number. Instead they ask holders for their CVV number to "verify that you are in possession of the card".

The real Visa/Mastercard fraud department never ask for any information about a card since they already know everything about it. However many people don't realise this and the social engineering trick attempts to exploit this gap in their knowledge. A side effect of the scam is that users who see suspicious activity on their account when they get their next statement might wrongly assume it is already being dealt with. Delays in reporting suspicious transactions make it harder to file successful fraud reports. The fraudster already have a potential victim's credit card number - most probably obtained via going through the bins for credit card receipts - and they are just looking for the missing piece in their fraudulent jigsaw.

It's difficult to know if the scam is new as such but after we were told about it by a contact, we spoke to an acquaintance who'd been on the receiving end of the same ruse, so we do know it's being actively exploited. Be careful. ®

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