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Is 'Rachel from card services' still calling you?

Created date

September 24th, 2015
scam alert logo
scam alert logo

You’re right in the middle of something and the phone rings. You don’t recognize the number displayed on the caller ID, but you answer it anyway. On the other end of the line you hear, “Hi! This is Rachel from card services. There’s no problem with your account...” The “caller” (actually a prerecorded message) goes on to offer you a lower interest rate on your credit cards. 

I receive a few such calls per week and for good reason. Apparently these scammers are making millions of dollars through these calls. I always hang up before I get to the part telling me how to proceed, so I was surprised to learn just how big a scam this operation is. 

If you listen to the entire message, you are instructed to “press 1” to speak with a representative. It should come as no surprise to regular readers of this column that the person they refer to as a representative could also be called a scammer, a scammer who will promise you a ridiculously low interest rate—sometimes as low as 0%—and neglect to tell you that you’ll be charged a fee which can run as high as $5,000. 

Misleading and illegal

First of all, it’s against the law to charge an upfront fee for this kind of service and second, despite what the scammer tells you, there is no guarantee that your interest rates will be permanently lowered.

Instead, many people who get sucked into these types of scams find unauthorized charges on their credit card bills. Why? Because in order to “sign you up,” the scammer takes down all your credit card information. You might also be asked for your bank account numbers. Once they have all that information, you can be sure they will use it and not necessarily the way you expect them to. Never give a random caller any credit card or bank account information over the phone.   

These operations are just plain shady, often leaving consumers with more debt than they started with or misrepresenting their so-called “client’s” situation to actual credit card companies. The scammer may tell you to stop paying your bills or neglect to tell you about fees involved in doing credit transfers. 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has shut down a number of “card services” robo-call operations, but it seems that as soon as they nullify one, another pops up. 

Hang up!

The next time “Rachel from card services” calls you...hang up! Don’t push any numbers, not even the one that offers to take you off the call list. You will just end up getting more annoying phone calls. 

Next, report it to the FTC. Tell them what happened by visiting complaints.donotcall.gov or calling 1-888-382-1222. They use your complaints to investigate these scams so they can shut more of them down.

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