From a local reader
There is a new and clever credit card scam. This scam is very clever so be very careful out there as one could easily fall for this … beware of people bearing gifts.
Someone it happened to says it works like this:
Wednesday a week ago, I had a phone call from someone who said that he was from some outfit called: “Express Couriers” asking if I was going to be home because there was a package for me, and the caller said that the delivery would arrive at my home in roughly an hour.
And sure enough, about an hour later, a uniformed delivery man turned up with a beautiful basket of flowers and wine. I was very surprised since it did not involve any special occasion or holiday, and I certainly didn’t expect anything like it.
Intrigued about who would send me such a gift, I inquired as to who the sender is. The deliveryman’s reply was, he was only delivering the gift package, but allegedly a card was being sent separately; (the card has never arrived.) There was also a consignment note with the gift.
He then went on to explain that because the gift contained alcohol, there was a $3.50 “delivery charge” as proof that he had actually delivered the package to an adult, and not just left it on the doorstep where it could be stolen or taken by anyone.
This sounded logical and I offered to pay him cash. He then said that the company required the payment to be by credit or debit card only so that everything is properly accounted for.
My husband, who by this time was standing beside me, pulled his wallet out of his pocket with the credit/debit card, and ‘John’, the “delivery man”, asked my husband to swipe the card on the small mobile card machine which had a small screen and keypad where Frank was also asked to enter the card’s PIN and security number. A receipt was printed out and given to us.
To our horrible surprise, between Thursday and the following Monday, $4,000 had been charged/withdrawn from our credit/debit account at various ATM machines.
It appeared that somehow the “mobile credit card machine,” which the delivery man carried had all the information necessary to create a “dummy” card with all our card details after my husband swiped our card and entered the requested PIN and security number.
Upon finding out about the illegal transactions on our card, we immediately notified the bank, which issued us the card, and our credit/debit account was closed.
We also personally went to the police, where it was confirmed that it is definitely a scam because several households had been similarly hit.
WARNING: Be wary of accepting any “surprise gift or package,” which you neither expected nor personally ordered, especially if it involves any kind of payment as a condition of receiving the gift or package. Also, never accept anything if you do not personally know or there is no proper identification of who the sender is.
Above all, the only time you should give out any personal credit/debit card information is when you yourself initiated the purchase or transaction.