Credit Card Scam Attempts to Acquire Card Security Code Over Telephone

The Palatine Township Senior Citizens Council issued a warning about a new telephone scam reported in the area involving Master Card and Visa credit cards.

Criminals (in this case known as phishers) call people, claim to be from the fraud department of a credit card company and identify themselves with a “badge number.” They usually have already obtained the account number and other account information directly from hacking a merchant’s database or reading a poorly-designed receipt. They may also have obtained the information on the black market from the hacker.

The caller then informs the would-be victim that an unusual purchase as been made on his or her credit card.

If the would-be-victim denies making the purchase, the caller says a credit will be given but that the customer needs to verify possession of the card by giving out the CVV2 — the last three numbers on the back of the credit card.

The CVV2 is a 3- or 4-digit value printed on the card or signature strip, but not encoded on the magnetic stripe. The CVV2 is used to increase protection against credit card fraud, especially for credit card transactions when the credit card holder is not present. Some merchants are using it during face-to-face transactions. The first code, called CVC1 or CVV1, is encoded on the magnetic stripe of the card and used for transactions when the card holder is present with merchant during the transaction. The CVC1 and CVV2 (also CVC2) are known as Card Security Code, Card Verification Value (CVV), Card Verification Value Code (CVVC), Card Verification Code (CVC), or Verification Code (V-Code or V Code).

MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and JCB credit and debit cards have a 3-digit code.
American Express cards have 4-digit code.

These codes should not be confused with the Account Number, which is embossed or printed on the credit card and encoded on the magnetic stripe; or the PIN code, which is NOT printed, embossed or encoded on the card. The PIN is memorized by the card holder and entered using a keyboard during a transaction.

Online merchants who require the CVV2 in their transactions are forbidden in the USA by Visa from storing the CVV2 once the individual transaction is authorized and completed.

The Palatine Township Senior Citizens Council reminds individuals not to give out any information about credit cards, because the scam artist can make illegal purchases using the customer’s card. When in doubt, hang up and call your credit card company at the number supplied on the card or on your credit card statement.