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Scammers trying to obtain debit, credit information from unwary consumers

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Consumers who receive calls warning their credit or debit cards have been canceled or deactivated should be wary of fraud, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says.

A scam currently making the rounds targets consumers with debit or credit cards, with the caller offering to fix "problems" with the card. He said the scammer's phone number may not fully appear on caller ID and the scammer may not state the bank or financial company he or she purportedly represents. The scammer, however, will ask the consumer for the card account number and other information in order to "fix" the alleged problem.

“Our office has received many calls about this scam already, and we want to ensure consumers know what steps to take to stay safe," Morrisey said. "Many consumers use credit or debit cards as their main payment option when purchasing something, and to be told the card is deactivated can create a sense of fear or panic. If someone calls regarding your account, please immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card to verify whether there is an issue. Do not trust someone who calls out of the blue offering help to fix supposed problems.”

Morrisey reminds consumers that their guard should go up any time someone calls and tries to solicit personal and identifiable information. Consumers who encounter this kind of call should hang up right away and then independently verify the information they were told. Consumers also need to know that scammers can mask the number from which they are calling by using VoIP, or Voice-over-Internet-Protocol, services to make it appear as though the call is coming from a trusted business, government office or your home phone. That practice is known as “spoofing.”

“These scammers can be very persuasive during these calls,” Morrisey said. “Our office urges consumers to always remain careful when giving out financial or personal information over the phone.”

For information or to report a phony card fix call, contact the attorney general's office at 800-368-8808.