On Your Side Alert: Fraudulent credit card offer

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Federal regulators say crooks are targeting mailboxes with fraudulent offers. Criminals are offering consumers semi-secured credit cards for a hefty price. If you see an offer claiming you're guaranteed for a pre-approved $3,600 credit card, steer clear. The U.S. Department of Treasury says it's a sham.

An alert was sent out to banks across the U.S. Bruce Whitehurst, with Virginia Bankers Association says while there are legitimate offers out there, consumers should be leery of unsolicited offers. "Contact a bank, go see a bank, call a bank whose name they know and are familiar with and initiate a conversation about a credit need, as oppose to responding to something you are not sure about," he advises.

The questionable offer claims consumers can rebuild their credit by signing up for a semi-secured credit card. To get started, you're told to write a check ranging from five to nine hundred dollars. Once the check is cashed, federal regulators say you'll never receive the card.

The offer claims to be from AmTrade International Bank in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The federal government says the bank doesn't exist. In fact, the website and the phone number are longer in service. The offers may also claim association with reputable banks to fool consumers. "You get a piece of mail from someone saying we will help arrange something for you at another company but send us money first, all kinds of bells and whistles should be going off in your mind," Whitehurst says.

He says the good news, it doesn't appear there are any victims in the area but that doesn't mean the offer or something similar, won't show up in your mailbox. The Office of The Comptroller of The Currency is the federal agency that issued this alert. It provides tips on how to spot and report financial fraud on its website, OCC.Gov.

"I suppose the one good thing about so many efforts to defraud others is that it does keep up us on our toes," Whitehurst tells us.

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