As far back as 2007, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began reporting on credit card rate reduction scams and how detrimental they are becoming. Back then, they sent an alert to consumers warning of specifics involved in these illegal activities.
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The alert explained that scam artists were flooding voice mailboxes across the nation and these messages were from companies claiming to reduce credit card rates for a small fee. The problem is, they were charging the average consumer for something you can do yourself, free of charge. These services guarantee zero results, although some claim to offer a money-back guarantee.
The message briefly explains all of the benefits this service offers and provides a direct telephone number to call. Many consumers fall into this trap because the messages sound very official and have a sense of urgency attached. They want to convince you that you must act immediately. They may even state the offer is only for a limited time. These are all telltale signs of a scam in progress.
Tips to Help You Recognize a Credit Card Rate Scam
One of the first things to look for to help you recognize a credit card scam is the fee. It may be a small fee of only $25, but this may be for each creditor you want assistance with. This information comes out later, after the process has already started and most times, after you have provided them with your credit card information.
This leads to tip number two, never, under any circumstances should you give out your credit card number over the telephone.
No matter how official sounding they may seem. This is especially true in this circumstance because they originally solicited you; you did not contact this company for assistance with your credit card interest rates.
Tip number three wards you from offering any other method of payment, like your bank account. While you discuss your rate reduction options, the representative may ask for personal information like your bank account; they may also ask for your social security number. Do not be fooled into submitting this information. They can take this information and sell it or use it for fraudulent activities.
The final tip deals with your home telephone number. If you placed your telephone number on the Do Not Call list, you shouldn’t be receiving these calls to begin with. The company is in violation of a Federal law and can be convicted and fined. Go to DoNotCall.gov and file a complaint against them with the FTC. You can also call 1-888-382-1222 and speak with a live representative.
New Federal Rules Regarding Prerecorded Telemarketing Messages
As of 2009, all businesses must receive permission in a written form from any consumer they wish to leave a prerecorded message with for telemarketing only. This applies even if you already do business with the company. However, beware of this stipulation as well. Some credit card rate scam artists are aware of this rule and utilize clever tactics to gain your permission.
For example, written permission can come in the form of an email or by depressing your keypad on your telephone when prompted. If they attach this option to their recording and you press, 1 for yes, they have your permission. To remain safe and protected by the rules, read all of your emails thoroughly and immediately ban anything from a financial institution with a bad reputation.
Remember, it is not against the rules for a business to leave prerecorded messages that are not sales related. They can still contact you if you have a pending delivery or scheduled appointment. Only the telemarketing factor is affected.
Reporting a Credit Card Rate Scam Artist or Company
The United States Treasury Department relies on citizens to report each instance of credit card fraud they encounter. As a result, there are resources available for you to contact all levels of government to ensure that your experience is recorded. If the scam is extreme, you can go to TreasuryDirect.com and locate the correct link for assistance.
To report a lesser offense, the Federal Trade Commission has established their own site dedicated to all types of credit card fraud, including telephone scams. Once you have logged onto their site, simply review the options, and select the appropriate link.
You can complete a complaint form and learn valuable information about credit card scams to protect yourself from future attacks.
Learning how to spot a credit card rate scam may be easy for some, but more difficult for others. The way you beat your predator is by educating yourself and refusing to be a victim. Take the precautions you need to ensure that you are under the full protection of the law and if the issue arises, you will have everything you need to combat your enemy and prevent any negative implications.
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