Legal, Regulatory, and Privacy Issues

Credit card fraud targets merchants


Identity theft over the phone has merchants revealing shopper’s credit card information.

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Merchants need to be aware of credit card fraud that seeks to prey on small businesses.  Recent telephone scams in certain parts of the U.S. involve an identity thief calling a small business in hopes of snagging some credit card information.

The scammer may pose as a member of the local police force or as an employee of a credit card company in an effort to get merchants to hand over credit card numbers used by shoppers.

While pretending to be a police detective, thieves have been known to claim they recently caught some individuals suspected of credit card fraud.  The fraudster then tries to convince whoever they speak with to provide information from recent credit card transactions.

If the thief chooses to pose as an employee of MasterCard, Visa or another credit card company, they may pretend that the merchant’s credit card machine had gone offline.

Next, the thief will say they need to input the merchant’s credit card transactions in manually, and require credit card numbers and information.  The thief may explain that he will call back after first inputting the information.

In either case, or whenever a merchant or consumer gets a call where the other person’s identity cannot be verified, the best thing to do is to hang up.  A quick call back to the police or credit card company can verify whether they were in fact responsible for the earlier call.

When a scam or potential scam occurs, merchants should get in touch with their local police department to file a report.

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The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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