Credit Cards are awesome financial instruments when used wisely. That being said, Credit Card fraud is one of the most common crimes committed worldwide. It’s hard to wrap your head around how someone could use your credit card number to make fraudulent purchases. Though this happens quite often, fret not; by the end of the article, you will know how credit card information gets stolen and how you can prevent falling victim to credit card scams.
Common Scams/Methods to Steal Credit Card Information
Credit card scams can vary in their level of sophistication. Some can be elaborate, well-thought-off scams, while others can be as primitive as dumpster diving. Here the some of the most common ways credit card information is stolen.
Phishing is a technique in which cardholders receive legit-looking emails from their banks or other reputed financial organisations they may be familiar. These emails usually trick you into entering your personal information via a link in the email that takes you to a legit-looking fake website. Always remember that no bank or financial institution will ever ask you for your sensitive personal and financial information in such a manner.
Scammers can infect your devices with malware that records all your keystrokes to get your sensitive personal data. Be alert, and never open emails with offers that are too good to be true. Keep in mind that keystroke loggers can not only hand over your credit card data on a platter, but it can also be your bank login info or your Passport, PAN or Aadhar detail.
Skimming is a very common form of acquiring credit card data. This technique uses skimmers attached to common places where cards are swiped, think ATMs, Petrol Stations, and Restaurants. Credit card thieves recover these devices after a certain time and then use all the credit card information collected to make fraudulent purchases. A simple visual inspection of the card device is usually enough to spot card skimmers.
Sim Swapping is a technique that is used after you have already fallen victim to one of the above scams. After this, thieves have sufficient personal information to request your mobile operator to send them a duplicate SIM on the pretext of you losing your SIM. Once they get it, they can easily receive OTPs to complete fraudulent financial transactions with your stolen credit card information online.
Dumpster Diving is one you may not have thought of and is possibly the easiest credit card scam to pull off. How often have you thrown your credit card statements into your bin without shredding them or destroying them properly? Thieves can acquire significant information using your discarded credit card statements by rummaging through your garbage.
Now that you know the common credit card scams of how credit card information gets stolen let’s look at how to make sure this never happens to you.
Protect Yourself From Falling Victim to Credit Card Fraud
Safeguarding your credit card information is not rocket science. Being cautious, along with a pinch of suspicion, is all your need to keep your credit card information secure. Here are some tips and tricks to prevent falling victim to credit card fraud.
Avoid Using Your Credit Card in Uncanny Places
If you ever suspect the legitimacy of an establishment, go with your gut and avoid swiping your card there. Use cash instead or pay using safer means such as UPI. The same holds true for ATMs. Give the card reader a firm tug; If it doesn’t feel secure, there is probably a card skimmer installed on it.
Sign Up for Transaction Alerts
Transaction Alerts can go a long way in preventing your cards from being misused. If you receive any notification of a transaction you didn’t authorise, alert the bank immediately and have your card cancelled.
Use Stronger Passwords/PINs
This is probably a no-brainer. A stronger password or a PIN is much easier to guess than something as simple as 0000 or 1234 or ‘password’. Avoid using your name, birthdate or anniversaries as passwords or pins. If credit card thieves have your personal information, these combinations will be their first try.
Closely Monitor Your Credit Card Accounts
You must make a habit of regularly monitoring your credit accounts and statements. It’s easy to miss a fraudulent or unauthorised transaction in a sea of transactions. Detecting an unauthorised transaction early on allows you to notify the appropriate authorities and minimise your losses.
Never Share Your Credit Card Information
Your credit card information should never be shared via emails, WhatsApp or messages. You never know when something can get intercepted. Never give out your information to unreliable individuals who call you posing as a representative from your credit card company. A bank or a credit card company will not ask you for such information on the phone or online. Also, avoid saving your credit card details on websites. You never know when they can get hacked.
Opt for Zero Liability Cards/Policy
A zero liability policy is a provision in credit card contracts that states the cardholder will not be held liable for unauthorised credit card transactions. Almost all major insurers offer a zero-liability policy. This means that cardholders are not required to pay for unauthorised transactions and cannot be legally prosecuted. Certain cards come with this provision as default.
Summing It Up
Credit card scams are pretty common. If you are reading this, you are now better prepared to identify and avoid falling victim to credit card fraud. It’s pretty simple: create unique passwords, avoid phishing scams, go through your statements, and report any stolen cards immediately. Stay safe and spread the word.
Q. What are the most common techniques used in Credit Card Scams?
Skimming, Phishing, Sim Swapping, Dumpster Diving and Keystroke logging are some of the most common tricks thieves use to commit credit card fraud.
Q. What are some signs of a phishing scam?
Phishing emails will have a few signs that can help you identify them. If you see Offers that are too good to be true, suspicious-looking links, notice bad spelling or Grammar, or see unknown people cc’ed on the email, hit delete immediately.
Q. What should you do to notice fraudulent activity on your credit card?
If you notice any suspicious credit card activity, contact the credit card provider immediately, cancel your card and change all your passwords.
Q. What credit card information do thieves need to make fraudulent online transactions?
Thieves would require your credit card number, the expiry date, the CVV and access to your message to receive OTPs to make fraudulent online transactions. If you have set up your card or one-click payments, thieves don’t need access to your mobile number to relieve OTPs.