The headline is correct. This page has to do with agencies illegally attempting to exploit your fear of credit card fraud. It starts with a call from a telemarketer claiming to be a representative from your bank. They go on to say that if you are a victim of fraud, you will be held liable for the entire amount of fraudulent charges that are charged on your credit card. The sad reality is that these telemarketers are thieves themselves, and though what they say sounds good, it is completely false.
Under the Fair Credit Billing Act your responsibility for unauthorized charges is limited to $50.00. If you have a Visa card, Visa has a "zero liability" policy for their customers who report unauthorized charges within two business days of discovering them. This means you will not be held liable for any of the fraudulent charges, provided that you contact them within the allotted time.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has stepped up its efforts to shut these agencies down. According to the FTC, agencies such as these have deceived consumers out of $25,000,000.00 by exploiting concerns about card theft. The callers typically recite the prefix numbers from a credit card account number (the first 4 numbers) and request that the consumer provide them with the rest of the numbers, which the callers claim not to have for security purposes. In thinking that these telemarketers are actually representatives of their own credit card company, many consumers promptly recite the remainder of their account numbers. Many of these scam outfits were charging between $200.00 and $400.00 for these unneeded services. The saddest part is that even if the consumer stated they were not interested, some of these companies would put the charge on the victim's credit card anyway, since they now had the consumer's full account number.
- NEVER give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call and are familiar with the institution.
- If a solicitor calls and states that they are calling from your bank, take down their name and number and then contact your bank to see if the call was authorized.
- Review your statements each month for unauthorized charges. If you come across one, DO NOT pay it. Dispute it. Your creditor will inform you of the proper procedures to follow. Please remember that interest will accrue and payments will be due on whatever part of the balance is not in dispute.