Don’t fall for this common credit card scam

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Ever received an automated call inviting you to press "one" to get a better credit card interest rate?

Did you know those calls are bogus and illegal? In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission labeled these scammers "public enemy number one."

"You're an idiot, you're an idiot trust me you are really really out of your mind. ... "Will you grab your card and will you give me the expiration dates, the month and the year on it?"

Those are the words of a telemarketer trying to sell a WREG producer on lower interest rates for a credit card she doesn't even use — one that has been closed, and one with a zero balance.

"These people don't have any idea going in what your credit looks like. But if you give them a credit card number and some other information, it may be that they are running credit reports," said Randy Hutchison with the Better Business Bureau.

First these telemarketers call you, often on a number that appears to be from the area.

"These days they use a technology called spoofing, that they can make the phone number that looks local which makes people more likely pick up the phone," Hutchison said.

And if you do answer, the call will open with a pre-recorded message asking if you would like your interest rates lowered.

If you're interested, you're asked to push "one," and sometimes there's an option to be removed from their call list by pressing "two."

But the BBB says that's the last thing you want to do.

"Don't ever press two to be taken off the list because that confirms to them they have a good phone number, it will just result in you getting more and more calls."

If you do express interest by pressing one, you get a live telemarketer who tries to sell you on lower interest rates.

Back to our telemarketer — our producer did give "card member services" the number for a Mastercard she no longer uses and has a zero balance. The telemarketer asked about her credit limit and then tells her she has a late payment.

The BBB says that is typical, because they want to make sure the consumer has the balance to pay their fee.

"What they're trying to do is get information from you that they can check to see how much available credit you have and that will determine what kind of fee they charge you."

The Federal Trade Commission says after that "fee" is paid the consumer finds little or nothing is done to lower credit card interest rates.

The best advice from the experts: "Better not to answer the phone, but if you do answer the phone and its one of these robo calls hang up."


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