Date Added: Mar. 20, 2002
The electronic age has opened new avenues for ruthless scammers and thieves. In this chain letter, we're warned to look out for an official-looking message that will try to steal your VISA card information.
SCAM ALERT: Visa USA Fraud Control has learned of a scam designed to obtain cardholders personal data and account information. Visa reports this activity in Canada, but suspects it may spread to the United States. A member/cardholder may receive the following letter:
"VISA Department of International Investigations.
We regret to inform you that your credit card is cancelled until further notice and this in accordance with article 205 of chapter 210 of the international fraud department. We suspect that your card has been involved in criminal activity. In the next two days one of our investigators will contact you on the phone and proceed to verify your customer information. The violation of this law is a serious criminal act and could bring you before the courts. Your bank will not be able to assist you until our investigation is over. We are advising you that our offices are open 24 hrs a day. For further information on the matter you may visit our web site at HTTP/WWW>VISAFRAUD.COM
Yours truly, XXXXX.... Director Visa Corporation"
Visa reports it is not sending this letter. Please advise your members not to respond to this letter or any subsequent telephone calls. Also report to Visa USA Fraud Control, if any of your members receive this or a similar letter. Contact SCAM Alert at 1-800-637-2676, email us at
SCAM Alert is a service of CUNA Mutual Group, "the leading financial services provider to credit unions and their members worldwide." They are designed "to arm front-line personnel with the latest fraudulent schemes directed against credit unions and their members." The SCAM Alert phone number and e-mail address are valid, though they did not respond to my request for validation of the chain above.
However, VISA USA Fraud Control told BreakTheChain.org that the scam is probably real and provided better advice than the chain letter above:
"It is extremely difficult for Visa to control individuals that use the Visa name without our authorization to obtain personal cardholder information. If you suspect you have been deceived by a fraudulent offer we suggest that you contact the organizations below who can act on your behalf:
For the same reasons you shouldn't respond to e-mail requests for your VISA information, you shouldn't forward this e-mail warning about it. The basic premise is true - unscrupulous folks are trying anything to get you to divulge critical personal information. But this message is a bit confusing and was not intended for global distribution. Like any chain letter, it is also subject to intentional and unintentional edits as it circulates - making it very unreliable. Break this Chain.