1) The scam begins with the fraudster making a telephone call claiming to be from MasterCard® or Visa® and wanting to verify unusual purchases on an account.
2) Since there were really no purchases made, the cardholder will state the transactions are not valid and is then told by the scam artist that a credit will be issued to his or her account.
3) The caller will then say he or she needs to confirm that the cardholder has possession of the card, so he or she will ask for the three-digit code on the signature panel of the card. For Visa cards, this code is the Card Verification Value 2 (CVV2), and for MasterCard it is the Card Validation Code 2 (CVC2).
4) If the cardholder provides that code, the caller will indicate the code verifies the card is in the cardholder’s possession and hangs up. The fraudster now has that three-digit code in conjunction with the card number and expiration date they already know. The person can now begin making fraudulent Internet or telephone purchases.
The request sounds legitimate. The fraudsters go as far as providing employee identification numbers and fake names. They sometimes give the cardholders a reference or control number and advise them to call the toll-free telephone number on their card if they have questions.
Important to Know - Neither Visa nor MasterCard make calls directly to cardholders and would never call to verify activity or ask for any proprietary information, including the CVV2 or CVC2 codes. Do not respond or disclose any personal information, account details, or card information to anyone who initiates contact with you by telephone.