Police urge caution in wake of scams

Published 11:12 am Monday, February 18, 2013

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham Police Department Capt. Larry Palmer encouraged residents to exercise caution when receiving a phone call seeking personal credit card information.

Palmer’s comments came a few days after the Pelham High School Athletic Department reported possible fraudulent fundraising being conducted on the school’s behalf. The Pelham Police Department also has seen a rise in the number of credit card scams reported over the past few years, Palmer said.

“Anyone who receives a phone call asking for credit card information, I would encourage them to do a little homework to verify,” Palmer said. “You could ask the caller if you can get a number to call them back, and then you can call the organization to see if it is legitimate.”

Palmer said many telephone credit card scams seek the three-digit security code on the back of the card.

“Sometimes, the calls sound legitimate because they know your name, your credit card number and your address,” Palmer said. “All they need is that code on the back of the card. Once they have that, they have access to your entire account.”

Palmer said legitimate financial institutions will not seek credit card information by calling the customer.

“They issued the card, so they know what’s on it,” Palmer said, noting many scam callers are hesitant to provide call-back numbers. “I would just be really careful with providing any personal information over the phone without being able to verify it first.”

On Feb. 13, the PHS Athletic Director Kim Kiel said several Pelham businesses had contacted the school to report fraudulent fundraising being conducted on the school’s behalf.

Kiel said all legitimate donations to the high school will be made out to Pelham High School or to the Pelham Athletic Association, and said the school does not work with private companies to conduct fundraisers.

Kiel encouraged anyone who questions the legitimacy of a fundraiser to contact her at 682-5503.