SACRAMENTO, Ca., – Sept. 7, 2012 – Better Business Bureau is warning Sacramento consumers of a scam phone call in which the caller claims the consumer has a late charge through his or her cell phone company in an effort to gain the consumer's credit card information.
An East Sacramento man recently received a phone call on his landline from a woman claiming he owed $3.89 in late charges through Verizon
, his wireless carrier. After urging him to pay her immediately to avoid interest, she was able to convince the man to disclose his credit card number.
“I take pride in good credit, so the late charge really angered me,” said the man. “About an hour after giving her my information, my credit card company contacted me to verify I had bought a $300 aquarium and entertainment tickets. I hadn’t.”
The consumer was able to cancel his credit card and dispute the charges, but he fears others won’t be as lucky. “They were pretty convincing when they called. I asked for a number to speak with another company representative and she immediately rattled one off to me,” he said.
The consumer contacted his wireless carrier after cancelling his credit card to verify he did not have any late fees. The company stated that he was up-to-date on his account and had a five day grace period should he ever be late in payment.
Disclosing personal information to a stranger can not only put a credit card at risk, but can also open consumers up to identity theft
. The crime victimized over 11 million Americans last year, according to Javelin Research & Strategy
“Whenever a company calls you unsolicited requesting credit card information, be cautious,” said Cailin Peterson, spokeswoman for BBB serving northeast California. “The minute an unsolicited caller asks for personal information, ask to call them back at the number you have for the company.”
When consumers receive telephone calls requesting personal information, BBB recommends the following:
• Ask for the caller to verify account information. What is the account number? What address do they have listed on the account?
• Do not give any personal information out. If they ask to verify your address or any credit card or social security numbers, hang up the phone and call the company at the number listed publically.
• Keep your cool. Scammers attempt to create high-pressure situations. Do not get upset, think about what the caller is saying and determine whether what they are claiming makes sense. If anything sounds questionable, hang up the phone and call the public number for the company.
• If personal information is ever given out
accidentally, contact financial institutions and consider running a free credit report
on yourself at annualcreditreport.com.
For more information on the latest scams, visit www.necal.bbb.org.
As a business-supported nonprofit organization, Better Business Bureau's mission is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBB sets standards for ethical business behavior, helps consumer identify reliable businesses through BBB Business Reviews, sets standards for truthful advertising, evaluates and provides reviews of charities, educates consumers, and offers dispute resolution services. More than 87 million consumers rely on BBB for Business Reviews, consumer tips and scam alerts. To learn more, please visit www.necal.bbb.org.
Media: Contact Cailin Peterson for more information at 916-443-6843.