Crooks Target Credit Cards - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Crooks Target Credit Cards

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NASHVILE, Tenn. - Metro police issue a warning about a scam targeting a credit card holder's identity. 

Thieves are bombarding Nashville residents with phone calls trying to steal their credit card numbers.

Police believe the thieves have called hundreds of people over the past 24 hours. Some people have fallen for the scam that could cost them thousands of dollars.

Police said people should not give out personal information over the phone unless they know exactly who they're talking to.

One woman was forced to cancel her credit card Wednesday morning after falling for the scam overnight.

Others got the call and knew something was wrong.

Pat Krantz just paid off thousands of dollars in credit card debt. The last thing she needs is to be a victim of identity theft.

"I knew something wasn't right," she said. "Somebody doesn't call you at ten o'clock at night to say something's wrong with your VISA."

The call she received Tuesday night was a recording.

"It said something is wrong with your bank card and I need to punch in the numbers on my bankcard, my VISA bankcard," she said.

Krantz hung up. Metro Police Lt. Mickey Garner said others were not as smart. He said some people may provide the credit card numbers and the crook later cancelled the card.

Garner said at least a dozen complaints have already come into the police department. In most cases, caller ID doesn't help.

"Don't trust your caller ID," Garner said. "There's such a thing as cloning a phone number now."

Krantz's caller ID read area code 615, but under the number it also read "international."

"I called the number and the first time it was disconnected and now it just rings," she said.

"I have a way or there's a way I can call you right now on your cell phone or your land line and make it look like it's coming from the White House," Garner said.

That makes it nearly impossible for you or the police to trace the calls. Your best defense is to be smart.

"If you don't originate the call you don't know who you're talking to, so don't give out that information," Garner said.

Krantz knew better.

"If they get the card and the expiration date they can do all they want," she said.

Some of these automated phone calls pretend to be coming from Southeast Financial Credit Union. The company issued a warning to customers about fraudulent text messages. Now, phone calls may have to be added to that warning.

Police said the best way to protect one's identity is to never give information over to phone to anyone who calls.  To verify if it's authentic, go to your bank or call them yourself.

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