The fun thing about organized criminal credit card fraudsters is that they always have to stay a step ahead. I guess people were starting to catch on to the "Free" Vacation scam, so they had to come up with a new one.

Today I got to hear it for the first time. It’s so simple it’s brilliant.
It goes along these lines "Hi this is your bank calling" Red Flag! Which bank was that anyway, don’t they know their own name? The automated message continues: "There’s no problem with your account, we just want to show you a way to get a reduced rate of interest…"

Yeah, right! So if they’re my bank, how come they don’t know their name? My bank always starts with something along the lines of “Hello, this is the First National Bank of Ludicrous Service Fees calling…” Better yet, if you talk to the “agent”, how is it that he or she doesn’t already know your card number? Follow their script as they deftly pretend they know the number while trying to lure you into giving it to them.

I have to give credit to the people who came up with this one. As fraudulent pitches go, it scores four stars. It creates and removes the anxiety of a call from your bank, causing you to drop your guard. It promises a real benefit, and if you’re not paying very close attention it sounds genuine. I’d love to tell you how they messed it up and made it obvious that these are the same people who perpetrate the free vacation scam, but anything that makes them less effective simply needs to be kept secret. Just remember that there are some very clever criminals out there (after all, who else would employ a disbarred lawyer?)

Always listen carefully and don’t get suckered in by their tricks.

As usual, if you’re a victim of this or any other phone based fraud, call your bank and cancel your card ASAP. If you’re in Canada, call the Phone Busters hot line at 1-888-495-8501. The more information enforcement authorities have to track these guys down, the better.