The Better Business Bureau of Utah has received reports of con artists calling merchants and lying to get credit-card data on customers.

Who is calling and why they want the information remains a mystery, but the credit-card information requested gives cause for serious concern. The information could be used for illegal or unethical purposes, according to the bureau.The typical process goes like this: A retail merchant who handles credit-card transactions receives a call from a person who identifies him or herself as representing the credit-card authorization center. The caller claims the computer has gone down and all of the transactions authorized for the past few days have been lost.

The caller then asks for the names, addresses, credit-card numbers, expiration dates, amounts and authorization codes on all charges that have been submitted. Reportedly, some retail employees have complied with the request.

Bill Beadle of the bureau warned merchants to be wary. Authorized Visa/MasterCard representatives are not calling and requesting any information. Credit-card companies and banks would never request the address of a consumer.

Merchants should double-check any request for information and get written verification of any request for information of a sensitive nature.

Although local law enforcement agencies have not heard of these calls occurring in the area, they encourage merchants and their employees to be cautious.