For Scammers, Tough Times Spell "Opportunity"

February 26, 2010
A citizen of South Louisville called me today about a call which claimed, in a recorded message, to be from his credit card provider.  The recorded message said that, because of the ongoing credit crisis, the credit limit on his credit card was being lowered and his interest rate was increasing.  Then came "the punch line," with the recorded message saying, "If you wish to speak to representative about these changes, please press '2' now."  The caller (wisely) did not press "2."  Instead, he hung up and checked with the three banks from which he holds credit cards.  Each bank told him that they were not changing his credit limit or interest rate.  One of the bank representatives wisely suggested that he contact the Better Business Bureau about what the representative felt was a scam attempt.

A scam attempt, indeed.  Pressing "2" would almost certainly have brought on a "credit card representative" who would want to know the citizen's credit card number and other personal information in order to "help him" with his questions about the recorded message.  Without a doubt, this was one more clever effort by scammers to capitalize on today's headlines and rampant economic concerns.  Identity theft and fraudulent use of credit cards are epidemic in the marketplace.  Unfortunately, tough times too often spell "opportunity" for scammers.