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Not much of a diary I know, but I wanted to post this out there since I haven't heard anything else about it anywhere, and there are probably people who are being victimized by it.  

I just got a call on my cell phone.  After picking up the phone, an official-sounding recording came on the line to inform me that there is a problem with my MasterCard account, and to call MasterCard's fraud hotline, an 800 number.  

I wasn't born yesterday, so I called my bank instead using the number on the back of my card.  

As you might guess, there is no problem with my MasterCard account:  this is a phishing scam.   Someone has programmed an auto-dialer to call a list of phone numbers and play the recording.  The hope is that enough people will freak out, call the "fraud hotline" number they are given, and in the process of verifying their account, will hand over their credit card numbers, billing address, expiration dates, birth dates, CCV numbers, and maybe even social security numbers and drivers license numbers.  

The person at my bank informed me that this scam has been ongoing for "a couple days now" and the FBI is involved, but the scamsters keep popping up with new phone numbers as soon as the Feds shut one down.  

I post this here knowing that most of the people on Kos are pretty savvy individuals who have been around the internet long enough to smell out a phishing scam.   However, there are a lot of people who will fall for this.   I'm thinking of my elderly parents who are not dumb, but are very trusting, especially of someone who

1)  "knows" they have a MasterCard

2)  "knows" their phone number

3)  Is trying to help prevent them from being a victim of a scam.

      * * *  

There are a few things that everyone should know about calls like these:  

-- It is highly unusual for MasterCard International (A third party company who is contracted to your bank to provide credit/debit card services) to call a card holder.  Usually, stuff like this would be handled by the bank that issues your MasterCard.

--  Your name is not "MasterCard customer."   If someone purporting to be your bank or some other institution calls you, they will at least ask for you by your proper name, first and Last.   They will also be able to tell you which bank your card is issued from.  

--  Your bank would not need to ask for your card number, expiration date, CCV number, billing address, SSN or other information.  They already know it.  And they wouldn't expect you to give it to them over the phone.  

So there you have it.   If you get one of these calls, write down the number on your caller ID and call your bank to report it, not the number you are given in the recording.  If you know of any folks who might believe this is legit and call, let them know.  Like I said, the elderly sadly seem to be victimized by these types of scams more often, since they are generally more trusting of people.

If this has already been blogged, I apologize.   I didn't see it here, or on the MSM, but if the statement of the employee of my bank is to be believed, this is a big scam that has been going on for several days now.  According to her, the FBI has established a hotline for banks to call in with the originating phone numbers, and is working to shut this thing down as fast as they can.   And it's happening all across the country, and not just to customers of my bank.   Scam artists are just calling random numbers, saying there is a problem with the recipient's MasterCard just because they know that a good portion of people have at least one MasterCard credit or Debit card, and if only 1 out of every 100 people fall for it, it's still a huge payday.    

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