Category Archives: Credit Card Scams

Credit Card Scam Alert: Ignore that offer from AmTrade International Bank

There is a new scam showing up in mailboxes.

It takes the form of an offer for a “secure” credit card, and it targets people with low credit scores or other financial issues.

A “secure” credit card is a credit card where the cardholder puts up some of their own money as collateral against the credit line. It allows lenders to extend credit to higher-risk consumers at a lower annual percentage rate, and can actually be a good tool for rebuilding credit (timely payment of debts makes up a large portion of your credit score). We actually offer a secured credit card here at REGIONAL. They’re a legitimate financial tool.

Except for when they’re used as the basis for a scam.

This one comes from AmTrade International Bank, with an implied connection to Credit One Bank, N.A. (there is none). Victims select a card with either a $1,500 or $3,600 credit limit, and then send in $500 or $900 (respectively) as “collateral” for the credit lines.

And the credit cards never arrive. At its core, this is the simplest form of scam: take money, disappear.

This exact same scam showed up earlier in the year, from Freedom 1st National Bank, which also implied a link to Credit One. In both cases, victims instantly found themselves robbed of either $500 or $900.

If you get offers for pre-approved credit cards in the mail, it is vital to verify all claims before making a purchase decision and sending personal information and money.

In fact, I’ll just put it out there now: don’t respond to unsolicited pre-approved offers for “secure” credit cards, at all.

Also, never just send money to an unknown entity, for any reason.

This scam is going to keep popping up, with different fake banks running it each time, and law enforcement is going be playing whack-a-mole for quite some time. In the meantime, it’s on each of us to look out for ourselves.

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Score one for the good guys: “Rachel From Cardholder Services” has left the building

Have you ever gotten one (or a couple thousand) of those robocalls where “Rachel From Cardholder Services” tells you to press “1” to lower the interest rate on all your credit cards?

If you pressed “1” instead of hanging up the phone in disgust, you were connected to a telemarketer who would attempt to scam you out of a couple thousand dollars in up-front fees. If you pressed “2,” you were supposedly removed from the call list. Of course, Rachel would still call back a few weeks later because pressing “2” did absolutely nothing.

It turns out there were five companies running this scam, and the FTC has now officially brought charges against them. These companies have violated a whole slumgullion of federal regulations. In other words, Rachel From Cardholder Services won’t be calling anymore.

I never liked her anyway.

Anyway, there’s an article over at the Consumerist that goes into more detail.

Staying in a hotel? Don’t fall for this credit card scam.

The rules still apply when you’re cardscam-psychtraveling: don’t give out personal or financial information to anyone unless you initiated contact and know who they are, why they need it and what they’re going to do with it.

A telephone scam that attempts to steal credit card information from hotel guests has resurfaced in Alaska. The potential victim will receive a call on the phone in their hotel room. The caller claims to be an employee of the hotel, and tells the victim there was a problem processing their credit card, then attempts to get the victim to reveal credit card information over the phone.

If you receive such a call, hang up and contact the hotel desk directly and ask about the call. In almost every case, the front desk will tell you they didn’t place the call.