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May Scam of the Month: Be On Alert for Fraudulent Credit Card Protection Offers

May Scam of the Month:
Be On Alert for Fraudulent Credit Card Protection Offers

(Pierre) – Attorney General Mark Barnett warned South Dakotans today of fraudulent credit card protection offers being made in the State. "Telephone scam artists are using deceptive practices to entice consumers into purchasing credit card protection they don’t need," Barnett said. "We’ve had dozens of complaints from all over the State."

Telemarketers promoting the scam try to exploit consumer fears of identity theft and unauthorized credit card charges and claim that consumers are liable for all unauthorized credit card charges. Avoid doing business with callers who claim that:

  • You are not currently protected against credit card fraud.     
  • You are liable for more than $50 in unauthorized charges on your credit card account.     
  • You need credit card loss protection because computer hackers can access your credit card number and charge thousands of dollars to your account.     
  • They are from your credit card companies security department and they want to activate your credit card protection feature.     
  • Federal and state laws have changed making you responsible for unauthorized charges.

"If you have a credit card, you are already protected from unauthorized charges," Barnett said. "Current law makes you liable for only up to $50 in unauthorized charges."

Barnett advises consumers not to give out credit card or bank account numbers over the phone unless they initiate the contact with a business they know. Many scam artists are simply trying to gain access to account numbers so they can sell the numbers or make unauthorized charges themselves. "As always, be cautious when doing business over the phone," Barnett said.

In a recent case, American Fraud Watch Inc. of Canada was promoting credit card protection offers to South Dakota consumers. They have recently agreed to cease operations in the State.

Consumers with questions, concerns, or complaints about credit card protection scams or any scams are encouraged to contact Barnett’s Division of Consumer Protection at 1-800-300-1986. Additional consumer protection information is also available at the Attorney General’s website (www.state.sd.us/atg).