Fraud Alert- police urge awareness of credit card security scam

Waterloo Regional Police are proactively alerting the community to a credit card security scam.

A victim receives a phone call from a person claiming to work in the Security and Fraud Department of the victim's credit card issuer. The caller has the victim's name and credit card number and will state that there has been an unusual purchase pattern on the card, often in another country and that the credit card company will be assuming that charge, and crediting the victim's account.

The fraudster, who will have obtained the victim's name and credit card number by illegitimate means, will then ask to verify that the victim still has the card, and asks the victim to read the numbers off the back of the card including the three or four-digit security numbers. These additional numbers are all the caller needs to make purchases over the phone or online using the victim's card.

Although credit card companies do legitimately alert customers to suspected fraudulent activity by phone at times, police are concerned that fraudsters are posing as legitimate credit card security personnel.

To date, Waterloo Regional Police have received one complaint and in that incident, no financial loss was incurred. However, police are aware that the scam has been successful in other Ontario jurisdictions and are proactively urging local residents to be vigilant and aware.

Police urge the public to exercise caution when receiving unsolicited phone calls and avoid providing personal or financial information to anyone whose legitimate identity has not been confirmed. Police recommend contacting your credit card company directly to determine if the caller is legitimate, but avoid using numbers offered by the caller. Instead, check the credit card itself for the authentic customer service number.

Investigators also encourage the public to shred important financial and personal documents.

For additional fraud prevention tips, please visit our Fraud Branch web pages at www.wrps.on.ca/stay-safe/your-personal-safety/fraud-prevention or contact the Fraud Branch at 519 650 8500 ext. 8380/8381.

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