PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Police in Philadelphia are warning merchants about a new scam involving credit and debit cards.

According to police, the well-dressed scammers are walking into stores in and around Philadelphia, selecting merchandise, then attempting to use a prepaid credit or debit card to pay.

While the card appears to be legitimate and the “customer” has a Pa. driver’s license or ID card with a matching name, the card is declined.

The suspect then acts as if they’re contacting their bank; in reality, they are calling a co-conspirator at another location.

The suspect then hands the merchant his/her phone and is led to believe they are speaking to a bank representative.

The co-conspirator on the phone will ask the merchant if they have verified the customer’s ID, and once the security part of the conversation is over, the co-conspirator asks the merchant a series of questions regarding the type of machine they’re using to swipe the card.

After the merchant answers, the co-conspirator gives the merchant a string of commands to key into the machine, which prints out a receipt with an approval code.

The “customer” then signs the receipt and he/she exits the store with the merchandise.

Police say that the credit/debit card is declined because no funds were ever deposited on it. They also say that many of the merchants aren’t discovering the scam until they receive a charge back from their bank several days later.

So far, purchase amounts have ranged from a few hundred dollars to more than $10,000 in a single purchase.

If you have any information on this scam or have been targeted, Philadelphia Police ask that you call Detective Steven Parkinson at 215-686-3093.

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