Each month hundreds of consumers report to the FCC phone calls from scammers pretending to represent banks or credit card companies. These scammers use a variety of tactics to get your credit or debit card number and as much personal information as possible. Their goal is a quick payoff by running up purchases or cash advances on your accounts or selling the information to other fraudsters.
One of the most common scams is an offer of low interest rates or a chance to reduce your debt for a nominal fee up front. Another approach is to call or text fake fraud alerts that appear to be from your credit card company.
Many consumers complain about receiving these calls multiple times a day, even if they don't have a credit card. Such calls almost always begin with the caller asking you to "verify" your account information. Remember that the scammer's goal is identity theft, and statistics show that any engagement with a scam caller exponentially increases the likelihood that you will become a victim.
To help you avoid credit card phone scams, follow these tips:
- If you receive an unsolicited or automated call from a company offering to lower your interest rate, don't hang on, hang up.
- Never provide or confirm personal or financial information during any call that you didn't initiate.
- Never respond to "yes or no" questions or push any phone buttons if prompted to opt-out of future calls. Scammers use these tactics to identify live phone lines, and the number of calls to your line may increase as a result.
- Even if you think your card issuer is calling, or texting, about suspected fraud activity associated with your account, do not respond. Simply call the number on the back of the credit card in question or on your account statement to be sure it's really your credit card company trying to reach you.
- If you are interested in a lower interest rate on your credit card, reach out directly to your credit card issuer.
What to Do if You've Been Scammed
If you think you're the victim of a credit card scam, you should:
- Report it to local law enforcement as soon as possible.
- File an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission at identitytheft.gov. The FTC also offers advice on how to protect yourself from credit card fraud.
- File a complaint with the FCC at no cost. Read the FCC Complaint Center FAQ to learn more about the FCC's informal complaint process, including how to file a complaint and what happens after a complaint is filed.
* The FCC does not endorse any commercial product or service.