In the midst of editing a story for Inc.com I got a call from a phone number in California. It was a woman named Pamela claiming to be with “Credit Card Services,” in Orlando (that was the first red flag). She said she worked with all my credit card companies and was calling to lower my interest rate. I immediately knew something was up, but not because of her eastern Indian accent but because she called my cell phone. I don’t use my cell phone number with any of my credit cards.
Pamela proceeds to tell me that all I have to do is verify my credit card numbers and she can begin the process of lowering the interest rates on my credit cards. But I have to have at least a $3,500 balance on the cards. Yet she couldn’t tell me which credit cards I had that high of a balance. I told her I was busy at work and I don’t carry my credit cards with me (that’s true, I only carry a debit card and keep all my credit cards at home.) She said she would call me in the morning.
Next morning, 9:10am I get another call from Pamela and this is where it gets interesting. In case you didn’t know every credit card company has a 4 digit code associated with their cards. Like all Discover cards start with 6011. So when she asked for my credit card number I said I don’t give my credit card number out over the phone. She proceeded to tell me that she wasn’t asking for my zip code, date of birth or the security number on the back of the card and that it was public knowledge what my credit card number was. I was not convinced. Credit card numbers are NOT public knowledge, if they were, they wouldn’t be secure.
I asked her the name of the company. She started to get irritated and said to me, “I told you several times we are credit card services and we are based in Orlando, Florida.” But here is the part that scared me. She then rattled off to me the 5 credit cards I have and the first 4 digits for each of them and from there I could tell she was floundering. That was the only information she had about my accounts.
I said I wanted to speak to a supervisor because when I called my credit card company they said they worked with no such company and this is when she became irate. “You told me that if I called you back today you would verify the account numbers on your credit card,” said Pamela. “If you weren’t going to work with me, why did you have me call you back?” I explained again that I don’t give my credit card number out over the phone. “Your credit card number is printed in full on your statement so it’s not secure. It doesn’t mean anything without the three digit code on the back.” I told her I don’t get my statements in the mail and in fact several of my credit card companies DO NOT put the full account number on electronic statements. And then she started to yell at me about how she wasn’t asking for my security code, birth date, security word and that she was just trying to help me to lower my interest rates on all my cards.
I ended the call by saying the only thing you have helped me to do is realize that I need to pay for a fraud alert service IMMEDIATELY. So unless I can speak to a manager or get some information that I can verify with my credit card companies about your service I’m ending this call. She proceeded to yell at me and I hung up the phone.
I called all my credit card companies and they confirmed that the first 4 digits is general knowledge but that I was correct to not give my full credit card number out over the phone. When I asked who I could report this company too they said they didn’t know but I thought, I’m a journalist, I’ll use Inc. Technology as a way to get the word out. I also googled the number and saw several forums and blog posts about the scam.
So if you get a call from (310) 388-6861 it is a credit card scam and DO NOT give them any of your information. Now could someone suggest a good credit card fraud alert service? I’m thinking about going with Equifax.
Read more on the latest credit card scams from MSN Money.