CHOICE membership

I am from Visamaster, calling about your overseas credit card transaction

scams
phonecalls

#1

This is a new one to me. I have had calls about my Internet connection from ‘Telstra’ and ‘The Do Not Call Register Department’, but this time was quite different.

The caller identified himself as being from ‘Visamaster’ (VisaMaster?). He stated that he was calling from the fraud department, about a $900 payment that was being made to Nigeria using my credit card. Did I approve it?

I asked for the last four digits of my credit card… “Sir, we are not authorised to give that out”. My surname? He got that right. The bank that issued my card? He named one of the big four… and guessed wrong.

After this, I asked him to again confirm the name of his company.

Him: “I am calling from Visamaster”.
Me: “Okay, so I’ll just Google that name…”.
“Sir, if you don’t want to block this transaction…”.
Me: “Yes, block it”.
Him: hangs up.

I hate to have to say this, but feel that it is an important piece of information for readers: the caller’s accent sounded Indian.

While I presumably threw the caller totally off-script, the intent is probably to get the target’s credit card details - after which one will shortly make a large overseas payment.

Anyone else heard this variant yet?


#2

Thankfully not yet by anyone in this household but we get very few cold callers these days, maybe one every 3 months.


#3

Not here. Like your persistence re the company details. Last round of this type of call was more than a month prior.

I’ve been politely asking the caller for their name then move onto asking for their ABN number and ACN, what about your address? One poor agent hung in there unable to answer any. I just kept on talking over their spiel until I asked for their supervisor who could surely know the answer. Most don’t hang on past their name.

Something has changed recently to our benefit.


#4

Visamaster? Sounds like those other two card companies, American Club and Diners Express, must have merged.
Some years back I had a call from an Indian scammer to whom I provided my usual response and hung up.
Shortly after my phone rang again and the same scammer said “Do you know what you just said to me?”
Thinking the scammer must have been suffering from short term memory loss. I obligingly repeated what I had said, word for word, most of which I cannot post on this site, and hung up again.
It must have overcome the caller’s short term memory loss problem as they did not call a third time.
It is always good to know that you have managed to help someone out with a problem.


#5

Maybe the new derivation is to capture more of the audience. Over the telephone one might think it is either Visa or Mastercard…which a significant proportion of the population seem to have.


#6

We don’t get many calls to our landline and we don’t answer numbers we don’t recognise. We have voicemail and if it’s a genuine or important call the caller can leave a message.
I have had occasions when my mobile rings for such a short time it’s impossible to answer even if I wanted to. They come mainly from African countries, or occasionally small European ones. I have no idea what they’re about.


#7

I suspect I can tell you what those calls are about: they are wanting you to ring back to find out who rang. My guess is that the reply number is an extremely expensive premium-rate number (like Australia’s 1900 numbers), presumably with the cost front-loaded rather than per minute.

The telco would get its cut, and the scammers make a fair amount of money if some percentage of recipients return the call.


#8

You could be right, however there’s no way I’m going to ring back anyone from anywhere, if I don’t know them, especially when I see it’s from Nigeria, or Albania, or some other random country.
I guess they’d get enough silly people who’d do it to make it worth their while.


#9

This is a very good approach to take. Also, one can google the phone number to see if others have listed it as a scam, survey company, charity and such like. If the number has been reported, it will provide you with a piece of mind and support ones decision not to call the number back.


#10

I have had this problem for years. The problem is mine is so fragmented that I no longer have the ability to find the other bits of it.


#11

Thanks for the tip which we know about, however we wouldn’t bother even doing that.
We don’t subscribe to the idea that just because your phone rings you have to answer it, and we certainly don’t if it’s an unknown number. If they’re genuine callers and want us they can leave a message.
It fascinates me that people know what scammers want, because we rarely pick up (and if we do mostly there’s no response because some other poor bunny has already picked up before us).
The only time we might pick up is if we feel like playing with them, if we’re having a slow day, LOL. It can be fun, stringing them along and seeing how long they take to swear at you etc.


#12

I havent heard of this one yet but generally if the accent is indian I hang up quickly. I did get a call from people who claimed to be from the TESLA company in regards to my battery. They said it had a couple of components that were likely to fail. Being the sceptic I am I didn’t hang up but started to worry that this was a scam to steal the battery. However it wasn’t and they came when they said they would and replaced the battery. We have to be on our toes all the time these days because there is always someone out there who want your money and they don’t give stuff how ther get it.


#13

Unfortunately, many of Australia’s largest businesses have outsourced and ‘off-shored’ their call centres - with India being a popular source of labour that speaks English and is reasonably educated and (most importantly) cheap. I don’t think it’s possible to ignore all phone calls from people with Indian accents without:

  1. missing many important calls that may cost a lot of money down the track; and
  2. being accused of racism - or at the very least racial profiling. (I should make clear in saying this that I mentioned the caller’s accent in my opening post.)

The problem here is not India and Indians per se, it is that incentives for this kind of ‘business’ are greater than the costs. There are people who are unable to make a living and feed their families in what we would refer to as legitimate ways. In some ways these people are as much victims of circumstance (where they were born) as the people they call are victims to these scams.

I am mentioning this not as an excuse but as an explanation for the booming business. What would you not do in order to feed your family?


#14

The other way other than from a caller from an overseas call centre is that it is an Indian born/educated person in Australia employed by an on shore Australian Business or Department. I have dealt with people with Indian accents in the Australian Tax Office and Dept of Human Services as well as my local Jeweller, and in my local Shopping Centres. So as you correctly made clear it could be to the detriment of the recipient of the call to just “profile” on the basis of accent.