Word to the Wise: Don’t give away credit card security code

Don’t give away credit card security code

Identity thieves looking for credit cards may already have a lot of information about you -- like your credit card number, the card’s expiration date, and your name, address and phone number. With all that information in his hands, why would he call you? Simple, he’s after one vital piece of information -- the security code on your credit card.

Here’s how this scam works. The scammer says he’s calling from your credit card’s security or fraud department. He says they’ve flagged some suspicious activity on your card. He makes up a bogus transaction and asks if you authorized it. Of course, you didn’t. So he says he’ll open a fraud investigation, gives you a case reference number and tells you to call the phone number on your credit card if you have any questions. It all seems fine so far, right?

But, he says, there’s just one more thing. He needs to verify you are in possession of the card -- so he asks you to tell him the security code for the card. And that is the final piece of the puzzle he’s after.

If you get a call like this, the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission offer these tips:

Don’t give the caller any information about your account -- even if he already knows some of the details.

Hang up the phone. Call the customer service number on the back of your credit card. Talk to the fraud or security department and ask about the unauthorized charges the caller told you about.

Report the suspicious call to the FTC at or 1-877-FTC-HELP and the BBB at

Tell your friends, family, neighbors and others about it. By spreading the word, you can help someone you care about avoid falling for a scam.

Identity thieves will try a lot of different tricks to get your personal information. No matter the story they tell you, don’t give anyone your personal information if you did not initiate the contact using contact information you know is trustworthy. If you do fall for this scam, contact your credit card company immediately to have them cancel your card.

For more consumer tips you can trust, visit

Kelvin Collins is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia and the CSRA Inc. Questions or complaints about a specific company or charity should be referred directly to the BBB at 478-742-7999, or by emailing