A familiar phone-based scam is currently circulating around the Austin area. The scam involves a recorded phone message telling consumers that their Mastercard, Visa, Discover or American Express Card has been deactivated. In order to remedy the problem, consumers are directed to press 1 to speak to the security department.
However, the “security department” is really a scammer asking for personal information like your Social Security number, birth date or credit card number.
Similar scams involve calls or emails from your bank, a lawyer threatening legal action or a fake government entity claiming you owe money. Some of the scammers ask for money, while others are just trying to get your personal information.
In order to avoid falling victim, BBB offers the following advice:
- Never reply to unsolicited phone messages or click links provided in an email asking for your personal information. Even if the email or phone call appears to be from a trusted source, it could be an attempt to get your personal information or download malware to your computer. Hang up the phone or delete the email immediately.
- Verify the information. If you’re worried about your credit card or bank account, call or email the company using contact information you found independently. Never call a number left in an unsolicited phone or email message.
- Demand proof. If a caller is claiming you owe a debt, ask questions. The caller should identify who they are, what company they represent and, upon request, provide written proof you incurred the debt.
- Avoid providing personal information. Do not provide or confirm any bank account, social security number, credit card or other personal information over the phone until you have confirmed the legitimacy of the call.
- Report all suspicious behavior. File a complaint with BBB or the Texas Attorney General’s Office if the caller is abusive or uses threats.