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DARMSTADT, Germany — Just because it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck doesn’t mean you should give it your personal identification number to your Visa card.

Random look-a-like Visa e-mails have been sent out to people asking for personal account information and then threatening a break in service if the information is not provided, according to an e-mail sent out by the U.S. Bank.

The phony e-mails ask for the card account number, expiration date and PIN, something official companies would never do, according to Ronette Walton, who works for the Contracting Command that issues out the VISA government purchase card.

“These companies already have the information they need,” she said. “Plus, you never want to give any of that kind of information out over unsecured sites. You should be leery of anyone who asks for personal information over the Internet if you’re not purchasing something through a secure site.”

The government Visa issued to military members and Department of Defense civilians are not the only cardholders being targeted through the scam. Any bank that uses the Visa logo could be targeted, she said.

In the past, Walton said there have been some cases of credit card numbers being compromised. Most Visa cards come with fraud protection, which turns off cards that seem to have been stolen or misused.

She suggests cardholders keep an eye on purchases reported on monthly statements and report any fraud to the proper authorities immediately.

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