Credit cards, oh the marvel of modern payment methods! They have revolutionized the way we shop and make payments. Their convenience and safety features have won over countless consumers, making them the payment method of choice. However, they are not entirely protected against security risks.
As a result, credit card scams have become more common. In this article, we’ll go over the most common types of credit card fraud and provide you with tips on how to safeguard yourself against them.
Recent research published by Security.org found 65% of credit card holders have experienced fraud. Fraudulent charges are now at 65%, up from 35% in 2021. Those are some serious numbers to ignore. Here are some common scams to look out for.
The Most Common Types of Credit Card Scams
Phishing scams are one of the most common types of credit card scams. In this type of scam, the scammer emails you or sends a text message that appears to be from your bank or credit card company. The message will usually ask you to click on a link and enter your login credentials. When you click on the link, it will take you to a page that exactly looks like your bank’s website. Once you provide your information, the scammer can access your account and steal your money.
To avoid falling victim to a phishing scam, always be skeptical of any message that asks you to click on a link or provide personal information. Instead, go directly to your bank’s website or call their customer service line to verify the message’s authenticity. Pay attention to he URL of the page. Is there a typo, or does it have https at the beginning of the URL?
People who are not tech-savvy or older tend to fall victim to scams like this. Talk to your older family members and ask them to be vigilant.
Skimming scams involve the use of a skimming device to steal credit card information. These devices are often placed on ATMs or gas pumps and can read the magnetic stripe on your card as you swipe it. Once the scammer has your credit card information, they can use it to make purchases or sell it on the dark web.
To avoid falling victim to a skimming scam, always check the ATM or gas pump for any signs of tampering. If the card reader looks suspicious, use a different machine or pay with cash.
Using Apple Pay or Google Pay on your phone is another way to stay safe.
Card-not-present scams occur when a scammer uses your credit card information to make purchases online or over the phone. In this type of scam, the scammer doesn’t need to physically have your card, only the card number, expiration date, and CVV code.
To avoid falling victim to a card-not-present scam, only provide your credit card information on websites you trust. Look for the padlock icon in the address bar to ensure that the website use encryption to protect your information. However, this is not always 100% reliable, as scammers/hackers can purchase SSL certificates to fool people.
Fake Check Scams
Fake check scams involve a scammer sending you a fake check and asking you to deposit it into your account. The scammer will then ask you to send them a portion of the funds, usually by wire transfer or gift card. The check will eventually bounce, and you will be responsible for repaying the full amount to your bank.
To avoid falling victim to a fake check scam, never deposit a check from someone you don’t know or trust. If you receive a check in the mail, call the issuing bank to verify its authenticity.
Lowering Interest Scam
In this type of scam, you get a call from fraudulent companies or individuals who promise to lower credit card interest rates or reduce credit card debt. However, once you give them your information, they end up charging hidden fees or providing no services at all. To avoid these types of scams, it’s important to be wary of unsolicited phone calls or emails promising to lower your interest rates. In addition, it’s wise to always research any company before providing personal or financial information
How to Protect Yourself from Credit Card Scams
Monitor Your Accounts
The best way to protect yourself from credit card scams is to monitor your accounts regularly. Keep an eye out for any unauthorized charges or suspicious activity. You should have notifications turned on for your mobile app for the bank. Report any unauthorized charges you find to your bank immediately. Be sure to dial the number on the back of your credit card or get it from the bank’s official website.
Did you know Visa and Mastercard provide free identity theft and account monitoring services? If you have not signed up for it, you should definitely take advantage of this free service.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
By enabling two-factor authentication on all of your accounts, including bank accounts, credit cards, and email addresses, you can add an extra layer of security to protect your information. This type of authentication requires an additional form of identification, such as a text message or biometric data, to confirm your identity. Take this extra step to safeguard your data and educate your family and friends if they don’t have this enabled.
Use a Virtual Credit Card Number
A virtual credit card number is a temporary, one-time-use credit card number that you can use for online purchases. This number is not tied to your actual credit card account, so even if it is stolen, the scammer won’t have access to your real account information.
Apps like Privacy.com or CapitalOne Eno, can generate virtual credit card numbers that you can use for shopping online. The cool thing about these virtual credit card numbers is that you can specify them per transaction or delete them after one use. It makes online shopping a lot safer.
Use a Password Manager
Using a password manager is an effective way to safeguard your account online. Many password generators like Bitwarden or Dashlane can generate random strings of letters, numbers, and symbols that are nearly impossible to guess or crack through brute-force methods. In addition, you won’t have to remember all your passwords, and they are synced across your devices.
Chrome, Safari and Edge browsers come with built-in password managers if you don’t want to add another app to your life. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended.
Be Wary of Unsolicited Emails and Phone Calls
Scammers often use unsolicited emails and phone calls to try to gain access to your personal information. Always be wary of unsolicited messages or phone calls, even if they appear to be from a legitimate source. The most prevalent types of fake calls are those claiming to be from Amazon, Microsoft, Norton, or other well-known companies.
Remember, your bank or credit card company will never ask you to provide personal information by email. And if they ask you to verify, it is always the last 4 of your social security card number.
If you suspect anything, hang up and call your bank directly.
To sum up, while credit cards are a great modern payment method, they are not completely foolproof and can be vulnerable to fraud. It’s important to be aware of the different types of fraud and take the necessary precautions to protect your credit card information. It’s important to trust your instincts when it comes to identifying potential scams or frauds. If something seems off or suspicious, it’s likely that there something is wrong.