How to Spot Credit Card Interest Rate Scams

Each month, hundreds of consumers report to the FCC phone calls from scammers pretending to represent banks or credit card companies.  These scammers use a variety of tactics to get your credit or debit card number and as much personal information as possible.  Their goal is a quick payoff by running up purchases or cash advances on your accounts or selling the information to other fraudsters.

Simply put, these calls are scams. They’re either promising you something they can’t deliver, or they’re looking to charge you big money for something that you could just as easily do yourself, or they’re out to get your personal financial information to commit fraud. One of the best ways to avoid these scams is to do a background check by reading a few quick loans online reviews to verify if they are indeed legit.

To help you avoid credit card interest rate scams, this article from luminablog.co.uk will show how you can spot and avoid them.

What the Scammers Say

According to the Federal Trade Commission, interest rate reduction scammers typically promise:

  • They have special relationships with credit card issuers, which puts them in a position to persuade the banks to lower interest rates.
  • They can save customers thousands of dollars in interest.
  • They can get interest rates lowered so much that customers will be able to pay off their credit card debt 3 to 5 times faster.
  • The lower rates are only available for a limited time, so you must sign up quickly.

They aren’t doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, though. You have to pay for this service.

What the Scammers Do

These interest-rate scams have long been a robocall staple. Automated messengers claiming to be from banks or credit card companies urge you to “press 1” for a special, act-now offer to switch your account to low or even no interest. If you bite, a live operator takes over, pumping you for card numbers and other data they can use for identity theft.

Other callers say they’re from debt-relief companies with insider know-how in negotiating lower rates with card providers. They’ll charge fees in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars for things you can do yourself, like transfer your balance to a lower-rate card or sign you up for a new card with a limited-time 0 percent APR.

Once they get your money, your personal information or both, some scammers will just disappear. Others will go ahead and contact a credit card company on your behalf and attempt to negotiate a lower rate.

But here’s the thing: There’s no special relationship for them to draw on. They’re no more likely to get an interest rate reduction than you are if you asked the credit card company yourself. And you can ask the credit card company yourself. You don’t need to pay anyone to do it. Just call the number on the back of your card and ask whether you qualify.

How to Stay Safe

Never provide or confirm personal or financial information during any call that you didn’t initiate.

Never respond to “yes or no” questions or push any phone buttons if prompted to opt-out of future calls.  Scammers use these tactics to identify live phone lines, and the number of calls to your line may increase as a result.

Even if you think your card issuer is calling, or texting, about suspected fraud activity associated with your account, do not respond. Simply call the number on the back of the credit card in question or on your account statement to be sure it’s really your credit card company trying to reach you.

If you are interested in a lower interest rate on your credit card, reach out directly to your credit card issuer.