Service of Scams on Steroids

April 6th, 2015

Categories: Uncategorized

Scam 3

I’ve written about scams at least two times before. Have you noticed, or heard about, an increasing number of them lately? Many Oldie but goodyare of the oldie but goodie variety:

  • I just received two about friends robbed abroad in desperate need of funds. Guess the perpetrators thought we had poor memories so they dug out the old saw.
  • An increasing number of my contacts have clicked on a contaminated link that infiltrates their address book and spews out fake emails. The “From” sports the name of a person you know. The copy looks like this:

            Hi! How are you?

            News from Oprah: nasty link

            She says it works!

Name of Sender

            Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

In addition to this format that’s always the same, the crazy email address of friends and family that in no way resembles the actual one is a dead giveaway. And with all the faux emails telling you to pick up your valuable points from the drug store you use or the  department store you don’t, it’s too easy to become entrapped.

IRS ScamsAnother scam I heard of recently [but isn’t that new] comes by telephone. A voice claims to be an IRS agent and threatens the listener who is told to send money owed and in arrears, or else. According to, “it tops the IRS ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of tax scams this year.” You may think that nobody would fall for a robocall but 3,000 people have and they’ve lost $14 million to date. If your phone identifies callers, these scammers have tricked the system to read/say “IRS!”

Have you come across any new scams lately or been barraged by familiar ones? Have you been tricked into any?

Phone scam


10 Responses to “Service of Scams on Steroids”

  1. J. McCarthy Said:

    Thanks, Jeanne. It has gotten to the point where I now erase, unopened and without exception, any email I do not expect, or that is not consistent in style and format with the senders’ previous emails.

    I bet I miss many messages, but it is not worth the risk of corrupting the computer.

  2. KF Said:

    KF just sent an email with this warning. I checked it out on SNOPES.COM and it was first written about on the Internet in 2003. This is what KF forwarded:

    This is scary, it’s so simple…..
    This is a heads up for everyone regarding the latest in Visa fraud. Royal Bank received this communication about
    the newest scam. This is happening in the Midwest right now and moving across the country.

    This one is pretty slick, since they provide YOU with all the information, except the one piece they want.

    Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it.

    This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard telephone Credit Card Scam works, you’ll be better prepared to protect yourself. One of our employees was called on Wednesday from ‘VISA’, and I was called on Thursday from ‘MasterCard’.

    The scam works like this:

    Person calling says – ‘This is (name) and I’m calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460, your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I’m calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a marketing company based in Arizona?’ When you say ‘No’, the caller continues with, ‘Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching, and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address). Is that correct?’ You say ‘yes’.

    The caller continues – ‘I will be starting a Fraud Investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. ‘Do you need me to read it again?’

    Here’s the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works – The caller then says, ‘I need to verify you are in possession of your card’. He’ll ask you to ‘turn your card over and look for some numbers’. There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the last 3 are the Security Numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the last 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he’ll say, ‘That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?’

    After you say no, the caller then thanks you and states, ‘Don’t hesitate to call back if you do’, and hangs up. You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. We were glad we did! The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was charged to our card. We made a real fraud report and closed the VISA account. VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the Scammer wants is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don’t give it to them. Instead, tell them you’ll call VISA or Master Card directly for verification of their conversation.

    The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card, as they already know the information, since they issued the card! If you give the Scammer your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think you’re receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you’ll see charges for purchases you didn’t make, and by then it’s almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.

    What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a ‘Jason Richardson of MasterCard’ with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA Scam. This time I didn’t let him finish. I hung up! We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is happening. I dealt with a similar situation this morning, with the caller telling me that $3,097 had been charged to my account for plane tickets to Spain, and so on through the above routine.

    It appears that this is a very active scam, and evidently quite successful…

  3. Iris Bell Said:

    I got the same phone message. I did a Google search of the phone number they left and found it’s a common scam.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    J. McCarthy,

    You are not alone which is why these scammers have taken to the telephone no doubt!

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    If you look this up on and scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll see many handy tips about this kind of scam. is a great service.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You are one calm, smart cookie! As I wrote in the post, some 3,000 people didn’t keep their heads and they lost $14 million. Scary.

  7. Lucrezia Said:

    Scams abound in the email box, and I don’t have the time or desire to explore content, so they get trashed unread. Many w/the addresses of family, friends, online bridge partners, and familiar stores show up, and after a while it’s easy to make the distinction between real and fake.

    Just about everyone I know takes similar action, but there must be millions of others waiting to be fleeced, otherwise our spam boxes would be empty.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    So true, and the ones we’ve seen for years must be effective as they return, sometimes after a lapse of a year or so.

    I suspect that if someone is in a big rush, or is fooled by an enticing Subject line, that’s all it takes. I expect to be taken any day….even as cautious as I think I am.

  9. Lucrezia Said:

    The IRS phone scam is not new, and has been broadcast at length for the last couple of months. While on scams, another, a couple of years ago, was raiding tax returns sent to people’s money cards. Another reason to get a proper accountant and to have returns sent by mail! Worse yet, it’s the taxpayer who gets hit, since the IRS must now resend the money to the victim, while the thief goes uncaught!

  10. CG Said:

    I just called my 92-year-old mother, who lives independently, and read KF’s entire comment to her. She was aghast that this could be happening. I’ve been trying to coax her to refrain from answering a call if she doesn’t recognize the caller’s number. I told her that if she drops her guard and answers a call and the caller starts talking about anything having to do with her credit cards, taxes, or any aspect of her finances, she should immediately hang up and call me or one of my siblings. She was raised in a time when it would have been considered rude to hang up on a caller, so this concept is not easy for her to accept. I’m trying my best to get her to understand that we now live in a time where we have to be vigilant about protecting our identity, privacy and finances. I’m hoping that with constant reminding, not picking up will become easier and hanging up will become as second nature to her as it is to me.

    A few months ago I bought a set of cordless phones through that allow me to block up to 60 unwanted numbers (Panasonic KX-TGD223 with an answering machine and three handsets). This product allows users to have some control over robo calls and other unwanted calls.

    One other thing: Everyone should be aware that unwanted callers now can use technology to mask their name and number and make YOUR name appear on the phone’s display when they call you. I couldn’t believe it when it happened to me recently. I answered the call because my curiosity got the better of me. When I realized it was a robo call, I immediately hung up and called my phone service provider. I was told this has been happening with increasing frequency and there’s nothing the phone company can do about it. Unfortunately I can’t block the caller because their number was masked.

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