LOOK OUT FOR CREDIT CARD SCAMS, POLICE ADVISE

March 05, 2001 12:00 am

By The Observer

ENTERPRISE Two people were recently victimized by credit card scam and fraud.

Police agencies are reminding people to use discretion in giving out their credit card numbers and other personal information.

Both victims reported that the incidents happened Feb. 27.

Wallowa County Sheriff Deputy John Campbell is investigating a $17,375 fraudulent use of a debit card number belonging to a Lostine resident.

The unidentified victim apparently ordered supplies for a business. The supplier asked for the debit card number because it was a first purchase. Later a male caller, apparently from that company, called the victim back to confirm the number.

Campbell credits a local bank with alerting the customer to suspicious charges on the card. The bank did not honor the charges, thus saving the victim from financial loss.

During a three-day period over the weekend, nine transactions were made on the card with firms in California, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia and New York, Campbell said.

The purchases ranged from $1 to $5,800. In the course of his investigation, Campbell has learned that the bulk of the items were cameras and computer components.

Campbell cautions people about giving out credit card numbers over the telephone or the Internet.

He recommends that people know with whom they are dealing and it is a good idea to get the full name of the person on the other end of the line.

In Enterprise on Feb. 27, a telephone scam was reported to Enterprise Police.

A woman, 81, said that a caller identifying himself as being from Readers Digest told her that she had won a large cash prize. To receive it she must authorize a $900 payment on her Discover credit card.

The person making the fraudulent call previously had obtained the victims Discover card number, Enterprise Police Chief Donavon Shaw said.

The call was traced to someone with an Atlanta, Ga., post office box and an offshore telephone number.

Shaw asks anyone who receives this type of call to phone law enforcement authorities after getting a call-back number. Do not authorize any credit card payments.

Be very careful with your credit card numbers, Shaw said, and warned residents to be on the alert for this type of telephone scam.