A new phone scam gaining popularity all over the country has already struck one Lincolnton resident, police said.
Lincolnton Police Chief Dean Abernathy is cautioning residents about giving out any information pertaining to their credit cards to callers.
â€œThey get more technical and more convincing every time,â€ Abernathy said of the scam artists.
The latest scheme involves a caller telling a person their card has been flagged because of a suspicious purchase.
The caller will identify himself as a representative of Visa or Mastercard, whichever card you have, and say heâ€™s from the Security and Fraud Department. Heâ€™ll ask if you recently purchased a specific item that costs less than $500.
The person then says heâ€™ll be starting a fraud investigation, gives you a six-digit â€œcontrol numberâ€ and asks you to read the three-digit security numbers off the back of your card to verify youâ€™re in possession of it.
Without even telling him your credit card number, the person is now able to use your card. People who have fallen for the scam say within minutes of divulging that three-digit number, unauthorized purchases were made on their accounts.
Fine-tuned sales pitches and professional demeanors reel in unsuspecting people, said Abernathy.
A Lincolnton woman received one of these calls last week, he said, but she did not fall for it.
The best thing to do if youâ€™re contacted by someone regarding an alleged fraud is to hang up and call your credit card company direct. And never give out information over the phone. If itâ€™s a card that you have, the company already has the pertinent information.
â€œThose companies already have those numbers,â€ Abernathy said.
Contact police if youâ€™re targeted by one of these scams. City residents should call the Lincolnton Police Department at 704-736-8900. Those in the county need to contact the Lincoln County Sheriffâ€™s Office at 704-732-9050.by Alice Smith