If you get a phone call saying you are about to get a reward simply for owning a credit card, don’t even bother to find out what it is.
There is no such thing as one reward program for, or one company giving away rewards to, all credit cards, regardless of brand.
I got one such phone call recently. The woman identified her company as Care Plus, or at least that was how it sounded to me. She said they were giving away rewards to credit card holders. I told her I did not have the time to talk to her then so I would wait for the credit card issuer to tell me all about it.
At an event where I met representatives of Citibank, which issues both Visa and Mastercard, I asked if the phone call was legitimate. They denied very strongly being associated with this reward program.
They pointed out that even if several credit card brands are issued by one bank, the card companies are competitors. Each card brand would have its own reward program, independent of the others. There would not be any joint reward program.
Keep in mind, too, if you get a phone call that offers you a reward regardless of the credit card you have, that banks will also have different reward programs for each brand they carry.
The rewards they offer for each card will be different from what other banks give for the same brand.
So, before you commit yourself to anything because of the promise of a reward, no matter how attractive, better check with the bank that issued your credit card. Or go online and visit their web sites. They usually have lists of legitimate rewards.
BSP’s helpful tips
Incidentally, this unexpected offer of a reward is among the “signs of fraud and scam” listed in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas brochure “Watch Out for Fraud and Scams.” Con artists now use mainly e-mail or mobile phones to pitch their “irresistible” offers.
The BSP, which celebrated its anniversary last Sunday, says you should be suspicious when:
You are told you have won in a lottery or raffle that you did not join. (They often use a name that sounds quite similar to that of a high-ranking government official to add credibility to their message. People who rely simply on the fact that the name “sounds like” will likely believe the message.)
You are told to act immediately or lose the opportunity.
You have been selected to receive a special offer, incentive or gift.
You must pay for the shipping of your prize or gift
You are guaranteed a risk-free or 100-percent return on investment
You are asked to give your personal information such as bank account or credit card numbers, personal identification number (PIN) and passwords.
No written record or information about the institution is given or is available.
The institution that offers the reward or conducted the raffle/lottery is not registered or is not regulated by any government agency.
You only get a mobile number as contact information.
The offer provides testimonials that you have no way of checking out.
Protect yourself against scam artists by knowing more about how they operate and the kind of schemes they use to con people.