Ken Paxton
Consumer Protection

Identity Theft Alert

The Office of the Attorney General has received inquiries about a suspicious e-mail that purports to be from VISA. One such e-mail, forwarded to us by a cardholder, informs the cardholder that his credit card information is “out of order.” The cardholder is required to “update” his “billing records” to avoid “possible suspension” of his credit card. The e-mail then solicits information such as his name as it appears on his card, his mother’s maiden name, Social Security Number, expiration date, credit card limit, bank name and account number, PIN number, and other details that would enable a thief to loot the cardholder’s bank account and charge his card to the maximum amount. No legitimate bank or credit card company would request this information by way of an e-mail. Regard with extreme suspicion any unsolicited contact by e-mail, or by phone for that matter, from any individual claiming to be a bank or credit card representative and asking for your personal and financial information. For more information about what can happen when your personal and financial information falls into the wrong hands, read our ID Theft page and visit our website

ABOUT CONSUMER ALERTS - The Office of the Attorney General accepts consumer complaints about businesses. When a pattern of complaints warrants intervention, the Attorney General can file a civil lawsuit under consumer protection statutes, sometimes with the result that a company is required to pay restitution to consumers -- see our Major Lawsuits page. However, when a consumer is swindled by a con artist, filing a complaint cannot help. Civil litigation can sometimes put a very unscrupulous business out of action, but often cannot produce restitution.

Individual con artists generally fall under the jurisdiction of a criminal prosecutor -- in Texas, this is the district or county attorney. But even when they are charged and convicted, these individuals usually have spent the money as fast as they have stolen it. A person who is the victim of fraud should report the incident to the police or sheriff. But by far the best thing is for consumers to be aware of fraud, so they are not swindled in the first place. For this reason, the Office of the Attorney General posts these Consumer Alerts about possible scams and schemes that come to our attention through citizen contacts to our office or other sources.