UNION, NJ – Township of Union Police have alerted residents via social media of another scam, this one involving credit cards, where callers pretend to be fraud investigation agents for VISA and MasterCard in order to obtain credit card security codes.

“This one is pretty slick, since they provide YOU with all the information, except the one piece they want,” according to the Facebook post by police.  “Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it.”

Police recommend that residents understand how the VISA & MasterCard credit card scam works in order to protect against it.  Police said one of their employees was called on Wednesday from 'VISA', and another called on Thursday from 'MasterCard'.

Sign Up for E-News

Police outlined the scam as follows:

The person calling says:  'This is (name) and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA.  My Badge number is 12460.  Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify.  This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank).  Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a marketing company based in Arizona?'  

When answered 'no', the caller continues.  ‘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).’

The caller continues, 'I 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 (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number.’  The caller then provides a 6-digit number.

Police say the important part of how the scam works is when the caller says, 'I need to verify you are in possession of your card'.  The caller asks the cardholder to 'turn your card over and look for some numbers'.  There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the last 3 are the Security Numbers that verify the possessor of the card.  These are the numbers sometimes used to make internet purchases to prove the buyer has the card.  The caller will ask you to read the last 3 numbers to him.  After they obtain the 3 numbers, the caller will say, 'That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card.  Do you have any other questions?'

The caller then states, 'Don't hesitate to call back if you do', and hangs up.  Very little information is required from the cardholder and the caller never asks for or says the card number.  After a police employee was called on Wednesday, he called back within 20 minutes to ask a question.

The REAL VISA Security Department informed the police employee that it was a scam and that in the prior 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was charged to the card.  The cardholder made a real fraud report and closed the VISA account.  VISA is reissuing a new number.  

According to police the scammer wants the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card.  They advise:  Don't give it to them. Instead, tell the caller you'll contact VISA or MasterCard directly for verification.

VISA told police they will never ask for any information from the card, as they already have the information. Police recommend hanging up and contacting police to file a report.