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Credit Card Fraud is a type of scheming activity whereas; a person who committed this crime is punishable by the law. Sadly, several scammers still commit such act despite the consequences they may face in the future. What is more dreadful is, in this time of pandemic, the rate for credit card scams dramatically increased.
In the Federal Trade Commission’s Credit Card Fraud Report, about 400,000 cases were turned in to them which means the number rate grew 44% from 2019 to 2020. It seems like scammers took advantage of the lockdown during the pandemic and worked on their strategies on how they can manipulate more consumers.
The best thing we can do now as civilians is to know how scammers work and avoid becoming their victim.
Common Credit Card Scams you need to watch out for
Citizens with credit cards are one of the primary victims of fraudsters since such item can hold a lot of money.
There are plenty of ways thieves can perform just to get their hands on your account numbers. To name a few, here are six ways they can steal your credit card without you noticing it directly.
1. Card Theft Scam
the most basic and desperate move of someone who really needs money. From the words of it, the offender will take an action to steal the credit card from you. It can be through snatching, hypnotizing, or manipulation.
2. Spyware Scam
since almost every monetary exchange happens online, most people have their credit cards linked or connected to their e-wallet accounts. Opening or installing a suspicious file from an email or webpage ad can turn into a spyware that hacks your computer or phones. They can hack the details of your credit card number and use it for their own good.
3. Card Skimming Theft
Skimmer is a device installed on card readers which you may encounter in gas stations, convenient stores, or retail stores. Basically, what scammers do is they capture information of your credit cards by installing a skimming device on card-reading machines. Once the info is copied, the criminal will encode it into a fake credit card.
4. Data Breaches
Places that offer Public WiFi networks are the pool of scammers who can hack your devices to find your personal information including credit cards. Some talented ones will plan a major data reach where they target large institutions such as banks or retail businesses.
One of the biggest scams happened last 2019, where a data breach in Capital One led to stealing of information from millions of consumers.
5. Trash Gathering
This may sound impossible, but some desperate scammers dive really into trash, hoping to find credit card information. They can use account numbers or the company you use for savings, to steal from your credit card. So be sure to remove or ink the receipts of your credit card before throwing them out.
For the most part of Credit Card Fraud incidents, scammers will truly have to make an effort in data gathering. Without the information of your credit card, the scheme is practically useless. So after gaining adequate information from you, that’s when the taking over begins.
Fraudsters do the so-called “social engineering” techniques by contacting your billing company and pretend to be the card holder.
Ways to identify if your Credit Card Information has been stolen
Taking precautions is the most effective strategy to fend off credit card fraud. Avoid putting out your card information on websites where you can’t verify over a call. Moreover, always keep your credit card safe and secure. Only enter/swipe your card on reputable physical and online stores.
Other than taking preventive measures, it is important to detect fraud on your account from time to time. It is not guaranteed that your credit card is safe even if you are taking the necessary steps to avoid scams. Regularly check for signs of unusual activity on your credit card accounts by following these simple steps:
- Review your credit card statements – monitor your transactions and spending history monthly to check if there are any purchases you did not make.
- Check your credit reports – reviewing your credit reports from all three national credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) will give you a closer look at unusual activities on your account. You can see if there are unfamiliar inquiries or inaccurate information on your credit card. You may download credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com for free.
- Review your bills and invoices – keep an eye on the notices you get from unfamiliar accounts or banks. Credit card fraud happens when someone is utilizing your account without your knowledge, so regularly check for any spending activity on your account.
Disclose immediately to your bank company if you notice a suspicious activity on your credit report. You can get theft monitoring services from them as well as from the three credit bureaus.
Don’t worry most credit card companies do not allow their consumers to be responsible for any fraudulent purchases, kudos to Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) for taking action on this.
Therefore, as a victim, you should put yourself together and collect all the evidence you have gathered to report them immediately to the authorities for appropriate action.