January 29, 2009
Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster is warning Missourians of a phishing scam disguised as an offer to lower their credit card interest rate. Consumers have contacted Koster's office saying a caller claims to be from a company called Card Services, asking them to enter their credit card number to see if they qualify for a better rate. This is simply an attempt by thieves to steal credit card numbers.
In the phone call, consumers are led to believe they're being contacted by their credit card company and they are asked to dial a number, usually 9, if they are interested in trying to get a lower interest rate. Koster says in phishing scams like this, with thieves fishing for personal information, the crooks can steal credit card numbers, use them in a matter of minutes through online purchases and run up big charges that appear later on the consumer's credit card statement.
"This is a typical phishing scam, in that it tries to play on consumers' emotions and excitement at the idea of saving money," Koster said. "But as always, consumers should never give out their personal information to anyone who contacts them."
Koster says consumers should only give out sensitive information, such as Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers, when they initiate the contact. He says any call claiming to be a financial institution or other trusted organization asking for personal information should be seen as a scam.
Consumers can report phishing, identity theft or other fraud at Koster's Consumer Protection Hotline, 1-800-392-8222 or his Web site, ago.mo.gov.