As credit card became one of the most popular means of payment in the last years, it added a lot of ease and it quickly became indispensable to (online) shopping. However, it can also reveal to be a double-edged sword as it can be dangerous for the user. There are many ways in which a credit card can be misused, as well as many credit/debit card scams you could fall for if you are not well-prepared for the dangers of the Internet.
How to Recognize a Scam – Credit / Debit Cards
Impersonation of a service
Scammers can very easily pretend they are an organization you know by reproducing an identical website or emails from that same organization. They will contact you and mention that you need to update your credit card or account details on your account, as they owe you some money for instance. Unfortunately, this reveals to be fake and if you fall for it, the scammer will be in possession of your banking details which can allow him to take any amount from your account. This very common scam practice is referred to as “Phishing” and is one of the most popular types of scams.
You should keep in mind that your bank or any other organization will never ask you for sensitive information such as your credit card details over the phone. And if you need to update that information on a website, always check with the URL that you are on the right website.
Interest Rate Reduction Scam
This involves frustrated credit card owners who would like to reduce the rate they are paying for their credit card. Fraudsters will contact you by email or phone, offering to take as a task to reduce the rate you are currently paying for your credit or debit card. Of course, you must pay a fee to enroll in the program, however, the company will not even try to help you and will only take care of the invoice. You could be charged by the phone call, even if you decline the services.
We think that when physically paying with our credit card in a store or when withdrawing money our card is safe, however, we take that for granted. It is possible for scammers to capture your credit card information during a transaction with a skimming device, that is most commonly placed in ATMs or gas stations.
Once your card has been skimmed, a copy can be made, and they can charge your account with fraudulent charges.
Avoid any credit card device that looks it has been tampered with, and cover with your hand when entering your PIN.
Monitor your credit and debit card accounts closely. If you spot any charges you didn’t make, contact your credit card issuer right away.
When purchasing through a website or marketplace, you have the option to store your credit card details into the website in order to make the payment faster during your next order, and that allows the website to store that data in their system. However, let’s imagine that the website’s system is the victim of a cyberattack that results in a data breach, it means that many customers’ data will leak and get accessed by the fraudsters.
How to protect yourself from credit/debit card frauds
1. Monitor your account closely, every week or so in order to be aware of the expenses that reach your account. Make sure that you know exactly to what corresponds to each invoice, and if you think that your card has been misuse as you don’t recognize some expenses, reach out to your bank asap and explain to them the problem. They will be able to block your account, and in the best case, your insurance can cover your loss.
2. Always make sure that the website you shop at is real and legit, you can do so by testing the website on Scamadviser.com and by performing a manual check using our checklist: How to Recognise a Scam?
3. Make sure that when you use your credit card in a public space, you use it on a machine that is legit and has not been tampered with. Always hide your secret PIN when entering it on the pad.
4. If you do not trust other websites and want to avoid data breached, do not store your credit card information on a website for a later purchase.