Info searching hint: Use Control + F on PCs or Apple + F on Macs to pop up a text search window. Then enter any text, "credit card" for example, to find all text on this page with the word "credit card" in it. 

ALWAYS exercise caution and a healthy dose of skepticism when asked to give out any personal information, such as social security number, driver's license number or your credit card number over the phone or computer!

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! You can research emails, phone calls, and stories asking for above information, as well as emails with get-rich schemes, pleas for help, lost children, etc., at the websites below.
- lists hoaxes, scams, etc
- lists computer viruses, worms, etc.

If you are selling online, be sure to read Craig's List info Page about scams, especially if the buyer wants to pay via money order or cashier's check (yes, these can now be counterfeited!), wants to pay extra and have you send them back the extra money, or if a shipping company is involved! 

This has been verified by FBI (their link is included below). Most of us take those summonses for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of fraud has surfaced. In this scam, someone calls pretending to be a court official who threateningly says a warrant has been issued for your arrest because you didn't show up for jury duty. Caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify information and cancel arrest warrant. Sometime they ask for a credit card number for you to pay a fine. Give out any of this information and bingo; your identity was just stolen. Fraud has been reported so far in 11 states, including California. This scam is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try to bully people into giving information by pretending they are with the court system. FBI and federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their web sites, warning consumers about the fraud.

More info: FBI:

This is a description of just one of the many credit card scams going around. Note: The callers do not ask for your card number, they already have it. This information is worth reading. By understanding how VISA & MasterCard Telephone credit card scams work, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself. Be sure to read additional info from Urban Legends, at bottom of page!

You may receive a call something like this, from "VISA" or "MasterCard": The caller says, "This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA/MASTERCARD. My badge number is 12460 your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA/MASTERCARD card which was issued by (name of bank). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a Marketing company based in Arizona?"

When you say "No", caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?" You say "yes". The caller continues - "I will be starting a Fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1-800 number listed on the back of your card and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number". The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?"

Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works: Caller then says, "I need to verify you are in possession of your card". Caller will ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers". There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the security numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, "That is correct, I just  needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?" After you say "No", the caller then thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back if you do", and hangs up. You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you credit card number. However, if you call the REAL VISA/MASTERCARD Security Department, they will probably tell you it is a scam. There may also be a new purchase of $297 to $497 charged to our credit card.

If this happens to you, you will need to make a real fraud report and close your credit card account. Your credit card company should give you new credit card and 3-digit security numbers. What the scammers want is the 3-digit security number on the back of the card. Don't give it to them! Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or Master card directly for verification of their conversation. The real credit card security dep't will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card!

Urban Legends website has the following to say about the above scam warning:
While there's no way to verify whether above anonymous account is authentic, the type of fraud it warns against is real enough, so the message is worth heeding even if it is slightly misleading. It's misleading in that it gives the impression that this type of scam is brand new and only pertains to the 3-digit security code now found on the backs of most credit cards. In reality, it's a very old and familiar form of fraud that requires credit card holders to be protective of ALL information pertaining to their accounts.

Banks and credit card companies have long warned consumers against providing personal information to unknown callers (or websites). Con artists are often able to obtain partial information about a potential victim's account, then contact the person masquerading as a company representative to "verify" the account by requesting additional details in the above case, the 3-digit security code. But they might just as well ask for other pertinent details - for example, they may provide the last four digits of your account number (which typically show up on sales receipts, etc.) and request the other 12 digits to "confirm" it. Or they may already be in possession of your full account number and request the expiration date of the card, or your billing address. ANY of these individual bits of information may be just what the scammer needs to "fill in the blanks" and gain full access to your account, so beware!

That said, consumers should also be aware that perfectly legitimate businesses or financial institutions may request your three-digit security number (known as "CVC2" by MasterCard and "CVV2" by Visa) to authenticate a transaction. What's essential is that you be fully confident of the legitimacy of the requesting party before giving it out.

See resources below for more tips on avoiding credit card fraud and identity theft:
AARP's recommendations for avoiding credit card fraud and identity theft.

Avoid Credit Scams: Straightforward tips from About's Credit/Debt Management Guide.

About Identity Theft: Federal Trade Commission consumer tips.