Possible Credit Card Scam Alert: We'll Lower Your Rates, Purrs Robot Message…

UPDATE: “VersaDebt” Company Behind Rate Lowering Robot Calls?

What might be a new credit card ripoff scam is affecting people across the country. It starts off with a recorded voice from telling you how you can get your credit card APR lowered just by pressing 0 and speaking to an operator. When you reach them, they say something like, “Great, and what is the credit card number you want the rate lowered on?” When pressed for their identity, the “operator” hangs up. The Caller-ID lists the number as “Unknown.” At least two of our readers have reported receiving a call like this, and we ourselves got one as well. It certainly sounds like some kind of credit card scam operation. At the very least, they’re ignoring the Do-Not-Call List. Anyone else got one of these?

(Photo: Table Of Malcontents)

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  1. homerjay says:

    When I called Verizon about it, they told me they’d give me a month of free Call Intercept in hopes that they’d ‘go away.’

    We’ll see how it goes.

  2. ShadeWalker says:

    interesting image of the destructoid mascot. trying to demonize kotaku’s competitor?

  3. KristinaBeana says:

    I got it twice last week. They gave me an “opt out” option both times, but they called again. I considered hitting 0 to try to get more info from the other, but I guess now I will just let it go.

  4. jeffjohnvol says:

    I got one of these. I hit zero just to see what this was about. Some lady asked me if I had a visa or mastercard, and I hung up. I should have pursued it further, but was busy at the time.

  5. sonic0boom says:

    I started getting these calls several months ago. The message identifies itself as being from “Card member services”. This sounds vaguely like the name on one of my credit cards for when you need to mail them something but any time I typically get a call from my credit card company, an operator talks to me directly … none of this “press 9 to speak to an operator” crap. I’ve probably received 5 – 10 calls but hang up every time. Of course, they always say that time is limited, but that was a couple months ago when they started coming in, and I just got another last week.

  6. Ben Popken says:

    David writes:

    “I just read on Consumerist regarding the new credit card scam were robots are calling saying that your interest rate could be lowered. I have gotten at least 4 of these calls. I was never home when the calls came in, so my answering machine caught them. They never identified themselves and what credit card company they are with. I only have one card with Discover and I know that when I have had messages from Discover Card, they have always identified themselves (and it has been a human leaving the message).”

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been getting these on for months, if they’re the ones that say “this is a limited time offer, so consider this your final notice”. I always figured they were pushing adjustable-rate loans, but it sounds like it’s actually an identity theft scam?

    Actually those calls were a blessing in disguise. I eventually remembered that I was paying for anonymous call rejection on my phone line but I’d never turned it on.

  8. mxxcon says:

    got those calls twice about a month ago.
    both times i asked “operator” where their call center is located they told me Fort Lauderdale, FL.
    when she asked me for my credit card number, i ask if she has it on file and she said no. at that point i inquired so how do they know that they can lower my APR, she hang up…

  9. I get them frequently. I let the machine pick up anything that rings to my landline so I don’t actually ever ANSWER it, but it’s still friggin’ annoying.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Someone needs to see if they can track this down. Give them a card number – but make it up. Make sure that it has a correct checksum digit at the end. See how long you can string them along and get information out of them. Hopefully, at some point they’ll give you enough information to track them down.

  11. infinitysnake says:

    I get these pretty much daily. If you ask what company they’re with, they hang up, pronto.

  12. infinitysnake says:

    Hit send too soon- I did hear a rumor that these calls are related to an identity scam out of Florida, but I can’t rwecall any details.

  13. castlecraver says:

    I got one Saturday at about 3pm EST. Exactly as you described. The recorded voice claims to be from “card services” and that they can offer me a lower rate.. the conversation with the operator to whom I was directed (“Richard”) went like this:

    Richard: “Hi, may I have your name please?”
    Me: “No you may not, but you can tell me who you work for and who you’re calling on behalf of”
    R: “Sure.”
    *Click*

  14. zedrak says:

    I have been receiving these calls incessantly at least 3 times a week. They always get picked up by my machine at home and most of the time they come up as international phone numbers (starts with a 0).

  15. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    I’ve also gotten one of these calls, but in my case the caller ID came up with some really crazy 14 or 15 digit number that began with 44.I assumed it was a scam from the moment Mr. Roboto started speaking, but I really wanted to see what kind.

    The M.O. was the same as everyone else here describes:

    Robot: “We’re calling with important information concerning your credit card account. Press zero to speak to an operator.”
    Person: “Hi, you pressed zero to speak to an operator?”
    Me: “Yes! Which credit card is this for?”
    Click.

    Apparently it was the kind that if you ask any questions at all they move on to more trusting suckers.

  16. vex says:

    I have also gotten these on my answering machine. I wonder if anyone is doing anything about it.

  17. Trai_Dep says:

    There’s a whole familiy of robo-call scams that churn thru numbers. They seem set up to avoid being reported (can’t hit a key to speak to an operator, have to listen to the entire schpiel before making a choice, not leaving a mssg on machines, hanging up when you try to get IDing information).

    Of course they ignore the DNC list.

    Carpet cleaning NOW was the first.

    Then some kind of Important Re-Fi News was the next

    Now Credit Card Help.

    It’s nationwide, it’s sleazy as hell. It’s probably an FBI-level scam.

    The sneaky thing is probably many more people are getting the calls than they realize, since they don’t leave messages, and it’s designed to be so difficult to connect with a real person unless you’re a big enough sucker to listen to the whole thing. Or you’re a freelance Consumerist avenger.

    Anyone also get the Carpet Cleaning one? Or the Re-Fi?

    And, if you’ve rec’d the credit card one, leave a comment. It’ll be interesting to see how widespread this is.

    This seems REALLY scammy.

  18. TSS says:

    I got the carpet cleaning one all the time a few months ago. (Hi! This is Allison!) I just kept hanging up.

    Then within the last week, the credit card ones started up. Excuse me, I have go to remind my grandma never to tell anyone anything over the phone.

  19. Diana Scott says:

    I’ve gotten the credit card one at my work before (it’s a small business, and we have an account or two linked to personal accounts). I’ve never gotten past the first few seconds; next time I’ll have to pay attention and mess with them a little bit.

  20. 4ster says:

    Happened to me a week ago. The call came from a Maine area code. I had seen a few similar numbers on my caller ID, but none left messages.

    Robot, “We are calling with important information regarding your credit card. Don’t worry, everything is OK, but we have found a way to reduce your interest rate. Press 1 for information on how to lower your rate and 2 to be removed from our calling list.”

    Now, a week prior, I had pushed 2. This time, I think I will get my pound of flesh from the Do Not Call rules.

    Dude: “Hello? How can I help you?”
    Me: “Who is this? I’m on the Do Not Call List?”
    Dude: “Papa John’s Pizza.”
    Me: “Papa John’s Pizza? Why is Papa John’s pizza trying to lower my credit card rate?”
    Dude: “Papa John’s Pizza.”
    Me:
    Dude: “How ’bout you call this number again and ask who it is and I come over and kick your ass?”
    Me: “I’d love to see you try.”
    Dude: “OK. I’ll be right over to kick your ass.”
    Me: “I’ll be waiting.”

    Dude hangs up. I report to the whole thing to the police. Interestingly, the officer who took my complaint said, “Weird, I got a call from that area code the other day as well.”

  21. Anonymous says:

    Got a call last week. When I asked them which credit card they represented, they said they were a consumer group. I told them I wasn’t interested.

  22. Jay Levitt says:

    Don’t worry… it’s just mint.com. They’re secure!

  23. ShadowFalls says:

    If you want to trick them, ask them if they are from a bank you have no card with. Like say Suntrust or Wamu or something, one which you don’t have to mess with them. This way you can easily catch them in the act and mess with them wasting their time. (Spend like 5 minutes pretending to look for your card for starters)

  24. StevieD says:

    @jeffjohnvol:

    Should have said yes and given a number. Not a valid number, just a number. Reverse a couple of your digits and there is just about no way the number would be valid.

    Of course taking oh, let’s say 20 minutes, to clearly read the number would help.

    Telewhores hate it when you waste their time. So always waste as much as possible.

    I like answering the telephone while I do my business in the restroom. That way I am not wasting my time, and in a manner of speaking, what I am doing is kinda of related to telewhores.

  25. StevieD says:

    Always answer the telephone and waste the time of the telewhore. Telewhores hate time wasters.

    I just love answering the telephone whilst I waste my time on the toliet. Seems like a perfect time to waste the time of the telewhore.

    Take 20 minutes to give the telewhore a credit card number. Notice I said “A” credit card number. Just take one of your old cards, reverse a couple digits, makeup a fake expiration date and bingo, a “credit card number”. If the telewhore catches on to the fake number, always blame the problem on your poor eyesight that can not distinguish between a 0 and 8 or 6.

    Remember the goal is wasting the time of the telewhore. The more time you waste, the less likely the telewhore will reach your grandmother.

  26. Buran says:

    @KristinaBeana: Don’t. Report it to yur state AG.

  27. Miss Anthropy says:

    I’ve had a couple of those.
    The first one gave the recording from “Cardmember Services”, saying there was a limited time offer to lower my rate. (And is there any more obvious sign of a scam than a credit card company voluntarily lowering your interest rate?) The operator asked me what rate I was paying on my card, but hung up when I supplied more questions than answers. The second time I immediately asked who they were, but they hung up on me before I could even finish the sentence.

    So, points for efficiency, I guess. I know that it’s easy to circumvent the Do Not Call rules by calling from outside the country, but both operators had that bored, minimum-wage, call center voice, so I’m guessing that mine, at least, originated in the US.

  28. itsgene says:

    I’ve gotten this call as well. It came in under a UK phone number, but of course, the Caller ID can be spoofed.
    My day job is in spam analysis and detection, and it reminded me strongly of a spam we’ve seen lately that offers an increase in credit limits — for a nominal $49 fee.

    It’s interesting that the number was from England, because a month or so ago I received a classic Nigerian financial scam mail.. IN THE MAIL, not email. It was postmarked from London.

    There are millions to be made from scamming people, and the scammers are now turning to phone and postal mail, which cost much more per person.

  29. kenblakely says:

    Interesting. I’m in the UK (transplanted American) and I got one of those calls last night. It was a recording of an American accent, saying I had won a contest, and to press 9. I pressed 9 (no, I didn’t believe them, but I wanted to see what would happen) and the woman started asking CC info at which point I hung up. It occurred to me after the fact that pressing 9 might have signed me up for some kind of fone service – anyone consider that?

  30. I got a call exactly like that a few months ago. I demanded to know what account they were talking about and the operator hung up on me. As far as I know they didn’t call back.

  31. bigsss says:

    I received a phone call last week with the recorded voice. Since I was in the process of trying to lower my rate on my existing card, I followed the prompts. When I spoke to the live person, they asked my my card number. I pushed back and asked the last 4 digits of the card number they were calling about. The scammer promptly hung up on me. Just a reminder, that if they call you, they have the credit card number in front of them. If you are interested, they should as verification ask for the last 4 digits of the cardholder’s SS#. Always be on guard.

  32. Trai_Dep says:

    So the scam’s international? INteresting…

    Which authorities would we advise to read this thread? It sounds a LOT worse than I thought – I thought it was sleaze telesales dudes, but it sounds more like Nigerian money order-level criminals. Not that there’s a WHOLE lot of difference between the two groups.

  33. marciepooh says:

    The first time I got this message, I thought, perhaps they were calling about my sister, who has a CC or two in default. I thought it was weird but didn’t think too much about the lack of ID since when computers are doing the calling they often, in my experiecne, start ‘talking’ before my answering machine starts recording. The second time I knew it was a scam.

    I got a bizarre call from AT&T (or so he claimed) about changing my local service to a fixed amount (I currently pay Bellsouth $24+taxes and fees). He kept saying that Bellsouth was now AT&T and he was really only confirming my service…I finally hung up when transferred to the “independent verifier”. Has anyone else gotten one of these calls?

  34. Mark 2000 says:

    I got this call three times. Twice I hit the number for the operator. First time when I asked their named and call back incase we were disconnected they mumbled something and hung up. Second time the woman actually stayed on the line and argued with me that they weren’t a scam. Said they were in Atlanta. I told her she should be ashamed of herself and then she hung up. Never heard from them again.

  35. Johann says:

    I’ve received this call a number of times (sometimes it’s on my answering machine.) I always hang up. As soon as I pick up an airhorn, I’ll be ready to press the button and find out more about this great deal.

  36. ksnicholas says:

    I have received several calls like this. They have identified themselves on different calls as Consumer Services, Account Services, and Cardmember Services. The automated message was the same, so I think it is all from the same company. When asked for an address, they hang up. The first calls had Unknown Caller and no number on the caller ID, but the last three times it has shown up as Unknown Name with a bogus local number.

  37. Trai_Dep says:

    I reported this – and this article – to http://www.fraud.org. It’s a non-profit that helps figure out the right place to complain to authorities, and to spread the word.

    Hopefully, they’ll read this article and figure out who’d best be the ones to sic on these people. It’d be great if someone is sent behind bars for this.

  38. chrisarpad says:

    I have received countless calls from this company and have reported it over and over to the National Do Not Call List, and repeatedly choosing the option to “Have my number removed from their list”. Yeah, right.
    The calls keep coming, so I played the game and chose the option to speak with an operator but refused to answer the specific questions about my personal credit cards. I kept at it asking how they made any money from offering to battle the credit card companies on my behalf and lowering my interest rates? How is it that I cannot do this on my own. The repeated answer is that they make their money from the saved interest rates and fees that they win on my behalf. After repeating this scenario at nauseum I was allowed to speak to a supervisor who also assured me that they could convince the credit card companies to lower my interest rates by their team of 125 plus financial advisors, likening it to me going into court without a lawyer. Surely I could understand the value of having their experienced team working on my behalf. I said yeah that sounds really comforting but how is that you make money from this again? I don’t ever pay for services? Well you see you have to be approved I don’t know what your specific circumstances are. So I told him what I owed, how my payments were going, etc. So give me a ball park figure here what is your services cost? Somewhere between $499 and $999 depending upon the level of my current creditworthiness. Basically If I am a customer in good standing with at least one good account they will fight on my behalf and tell the credit card company that I’ll take my business elsewhere if they don’t lower the interest rate. Then they charge me for the service. I can do that all on my own and save their fee. I had to say thanks but no thanks and hung up. So that’s my opinion. Scam? I don’t know. There are a lot of companies out there that will do the dirty work that we don’t want to. I’m sure it can help some but you can always do the work yourself and save the money. Good luck everyone!

  39. xdcx11 says:

    So “Consumer Services” robo-called me with the same deal last night. I had received the call several times and hung up. This time I played along and pressed 1. The person that answered had a bit of trouble with the script, but they asked me what my credit balance and interest rates were. I made some #s up to lead them a long for a bit. I then asked was there a number I could reach them on. Surprisingly they gave me one – 866-477-8449. I then asked what the name of the company was and they repeated “consumer services”.

    At this point I told them I was the do not call list and they were in violation of it. They asked me for my phone # so they could remove me. I told them I was already on the list – what were they talking about. If they didn’t have my # I wasn’t going to give it to them. At this point they got really huffy and said if I wasn’t going to give it to them they couldn’t remove me from their list and hung up.

    Calling the 800# gives a message that is related to credit card info and even gives a website address – cardmemberservices.net. This site looks pretty sketchy as the front page asks you to enter your credit card #. I think they are still likely reusing some other iffy companies identity and aren’t really related. If others do find out similar information it would be interesting…

  40. theczardictates says:

    They’re back! Just got this call, asked them why they ignored the Do Not Call list, they hung up. Filed a complaint with the FTC for the DNC violation, for all the good that will do… I wonder if its the same people as the Auto Warranty callers who don’t even know which car they are supposedly calling about…

  41. Arthur says:

    I just got the call for a second time in a few weeks, this time I pressed “1” and I got a guy instantly asking for all this private info. I didn’t give him any, and I told him I was on the “Do Not Call List”, and he need to immediately remove me from their list. He hung up. I got a phone number this time, it is 850-473-1276 from Pensacola, FL. I will file a complaint.

  42. Anonymous says:

    I just got one of these and almost fell for it…I went thru it with a rep who then put his boss on when I questioned what they were doing saying I didnt believe it and that is was too good to be true…she explains that they will work with the credit card companies to lower my interest rates…they had some information about our financial situation but asked for other info like they were putting together a puzzle…then she says how we have a good credit record and how people who don’t have to pay a “processing fee” of $490 up front but for us it would be added on to our balance so I said that we were finished with the converstion and she puts John Tyler on who is supposedly her boss…I asked where they are located and he said Tampa Bay Fl…the number on my caller ID is 904-3991899 but its been disconnected

  43. Anonymous says:

    I have been getting these calls for over 6 mths now sometimes twice a day. I have blocked the number, reported it to the FTC and they call again with a new number… When you question them for the company name, they hang up on you. Call back and get a recorded foreign voice saying your number has been removed. Soemeone did talk to me once and gave me the company name which I reported to the FTC. I am ready to shut off my landline phone for good! Well see how the phone company likes not getting anymore money.