Canadians are inundated with fraudulent emails, text messages and phone calls daily. While criminals pretending to be with Canada’s big banks are nothing new, they are now trying a new credit card scam that everyone should know about.
I recently received an out of the blue phone call telling me that I could receive zero percent interest on all my credit cards for a period of three years. I knew it was a scam so I recorded the call and tried to keep the scammer on the line.
Here’s how the two-minute, 26-second call went before the scammer got frustrated and hung up.
Scam: Hello, I’m calling from Visa with a special offer for our customers.
Tap: I don’t understand. Why did you call me?
Scam: Based on your good payment history and comparable rates, you are fully qualified to earn zero percent interest on your existing credit card for the next three years.
Tap: So I can get zero percent interest on my credit cards for three years?
Scam: Yes sir, for the next three years.
Tap: Wow this is great. Alright, what should I do?
Scam: So, after getting the zero percent interest rate, your responsibility and current job is to keep paying the bills on time as you are currently doing.
Scam: So as a next step, what I’m going to do, I’m going to go ahead and pull out the most recent billing statement for you. I’ll let you know the current balance you owe, the last payment you made, and the interest rate you’re paying right now. After that, I will complete your profile for zero percent. So to work on an account can you give your card. Please confirm your card numbers.
Tap: Alright, but you’re calling me. Why do you need me to give you the card numbers?
Scam: Yes sir, I have all your information in my database because we are secure and we are protected. Right now we know I’m on a registered line. Why am I asking for card numbers is to make sure the card is not stolen or misplaced, sir. I won’t ask you for any personal information like your PIN, password, driver’s license, none of that. Because I don’t want to lose my job sir.
Tap: So you want me to give you my credit card numbers?
Scam: Yes sir. Verify me the card numbers so I can just go ahead and pull the most recent statement for you. After that, I’ll complete your profile for zero percent, sir.
Tap: So if I give you my credit card numbers, I get 0% interest on all my credit cards for three years?
Scam: Yes sir.
Tap: Wow this is great. So what company are you with?
Scam: I’m calling from the Visa help desk, sir. And this promotional call is only for CIBC, Scotia, Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank.
Tap: I am not with any of these banks.
Scam: Hangs up the phone.
Rachel Jolicoeur, Director of Mitigation and Fraud Strategy at Interactold CTV News Toronto that criminals are always trying to find ways to catch people off guard to get their credit, banking and other personal information.
“Fraud at Interac and fraud in general is constant, but what we’re seeing now is an increase in all types of fraud attempts,” Jolicoeur said.
She said thieves will also comb through social media posts to try to find out as much as they can about you, as they might already have information and are looking for one last piece to steal your identity.
“Criminals are really good at taking one of the pieces and putting them together (along with others) and creating a profile of the individual and that’s where identity theft comes in,” Jolicoeur said.
According to Canadian Anti-Fraud Center, Canadians lost more than $379 million last year in reported losses and received 104,295 fraud reports. It is also estimated that only about five percent of victims file a fraud report.
The bottom line is never give your credit card numbers, expiration dates or security code to anyone who calls and asks for it, just know it’s a scam and hang up.