Criminals are using consumer fears after a major credit card security breach to rip off British Columbians, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Global Payments, a major American payment card processing firm, reported that its system had been hacked on Friday, compromising more than 1.5 million Visa and MasterCards.

BBB spokesman Mark Fernandes told CTV News that B.C. fraudsters are exploiting the situation.

"It's almost like clockwork. When something like this that has a global impact, where it's a huge news story and it mentions scary items like data breach, phishing attempts happen and they literally happen over the next couple weeks while that story is fresh," he said.

Police is West Vancouver say residents are already receiving calls from people posing as security employees with MasterCard or Visa, who tell them they have fraudulent charges on their card and ask for the security code on the back of the card.

Police are warning not to give out that number.

The BBB suspects scammers will also send out emails claiming to be from Global Payments.

"They don't send emails asking for login information or password requests. If you do receive an email that looks like that, just delete it," Fernandes said.

He recommends that consumers examine their credit card statements closely; fraudulent charges will be reimbursed by the credit company. The BBB also suggests checking up on credit ratings once a year.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Lisa Rossington