This morning a gentleman picked up his ringing cell phone and was greeted by “Rachel at Cardholder Services.” Only she wasn’t actually employed by his credit card company. And the intended victim of this scam was actually the President and CEO of the Louisville, KY Better Business Bureau.
“If you’re never heard from Rachel, consider yourself lucky.” This is the opening line of a Moneyland post about the scam.
How it works: Con artists use a friendly female voice and generic name to try to get you to pay to reduce your credit card rates, some making as many as 2.6 billion calls per year. According to the Federal Trade Commission, almost 13 million people who got these robocalls were fooled into speaking to an agent in 2010.
- Never give your sensitive personal information over the phone to someone who cold calls you. Get the name of the company they’re supposedly with, like Visa, and call that company using a number you know is legitimate—not one they give you.
- Ask cold callers for verification information. If they really are your credit card company, for example, they shouldn’t have to ask you what your CC number is, or what type of card you have.
Report robocalls like this one to the Federal Trade Commission at www.donotcall.gov or www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov. You can also call 1-877-382-4357. Be aware that scammers can “spoof” the number that shows up on your caller ID, so it may not be the number they’re using.
If your credit cards gets charged for a service you didn’t order, authorize or receive, and you can’t get a refund, dispute the transaction with your credit card company by phone, following up in writing. According to the FTC, the Fair Credit Billing Act gives consumers the right to dispute charges of this nature.
Thanks to VP Reanna Smith-Hamblin of the Kentucky BBB for this blog idea!