Warning: scam call claims to verify credit card activity


By Diane Lee (WSPA)


A warning about a scam call that is targeting anyone with a credit card. Don’t be fooled if a caller says there is suspicious activity on your account. Sure, the real card companies may contact you to check on purchases but a Greer man learned so will the scammers. And all they want is more of your private information.

When it comes to scams, John Helfrich in Greer has already been a victim of computer hacking.

“It’s frightening. It’s like being invaded,” he said.

So he wasn’t about to fall victim again.

Still a phone message he got sounded just like a real card company would to verify suspicious activity. And they had some key information, so he called back.

“The reference number on my voicemail was the last 4 digits of my charge card, but they said it was a Visa, and my charge card was a Master with those 4 numbers,” said Helfrich.

They guessed wrong, and Helfrich was onto them.

He had his wits about him when they asked him for his entire credit card number.

“They said we can’t process this unless you give us the whole number, and I said, I’m not giving you the whole number. And I said, I’m going to report this, I hung up and I called the Greer Police Department,” he said.

“More than likely if they have your, first of all your phone number and then a way to tell you what the last 4 of your credit card is, they probably have our information already so what you want to do is verify through your credit card company that no one’s been using your card,” said Lt. Jim Holcombe with the Greer Police Department.

That’s just what Helfrich did, and discovered 2 charges he never made out of Michigan.

Police say often criminals will start with those small charges first to verify the card works and then they’ll hit you with a big one. Often they’ll need the 3 digit security code, which might have been their next question, had Helfrich not hung up.

Instead his motto saved him.

“Be careful. Enjoy life, but be careful,” said Helfrich.

And he hopes you’ll do the same.


Some card companies have begun offering a more thorough ID theft prevention in the form of alerts. For instance Mastercard will scour the internet and alert you if it detects any of your private information including your card numbers, social security number and drivers license information. Check with your card for more programs and how to sign up.

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