Each time you hand over your credit card or enter in your personal information online, you could be unwittingly exposing yourself to credit card fraud. Chances are, if you haven’t been a prey of a credit card scam, you know someone who has. In a 2018 study from Riskified, an alarming 49 percent of respondents admitted to falling victim to a credit card scam. As banks and credit card companies mobilize to combat this trend, fraudsters and scammers are developing increasingly more sophisticated tactics to stay one step ahead. Fortunately, you can sidestep identity theft and fraud by educating yourself on the latest scams and how to detect them. Here’s our roundup of the biggest credit card scams of 2019.
Credit Card Phone Scams
This fraud can be one of the toughest to spot. Scammers masquerading as representatives from your credit card issuer call to alert you of suspicious activity on your account. If the fraud actually occurred, you might find out in the same way — with a call from the credit card company. But if the caller asks you to verify account information, such as the security code on the back of your card, hang up and call your credit card’s customer service department. It also helps to check your account online for any unauthorized charges. In another possible scam, someone posing as a credit card rep might call you promising to slash the interest rates on your card in exchange for a substantial upfront charge. Don’t fall for it — your credit card company would never proposition you about decreasing your interest rates for a fee.
Credit Card Email Scams
You might receive an email from your credit card issuer advising you to update your personal information before you can receive your new chip card. Chip cards, now commonplace in the credit card industry, were specifically designed to reduce fraud. But if you receive this type of message, don’t click on any links or provide any personal details. Your credit card company wouldn’t send an email asking you to update your personal information. If you are uncertain, call the number on the back of your credit card to verify the source of the email.
Credit Card Skimming
Scammers steal your credit card information by inserting a skimming device over a regular credit card payment terminal — typically at a gas station, ATM, or self-checkout lane. Skimmers are typically invisible to the unsuspecting consumer. The devices send your sensitive financial information to a scammer who can then use it to open new accounts in your name or run up charges on your current card. Keep your eyes peeled for any suspicious-looking card readers and, if possible, compare them to another card reader close by. Some red flags for skimmers include a strange color or misaligned graphics on the ATM screen, loose parts on the payment terminal itself, and anything that looks even just a little bit different from the usual.
It might seem old-fashioned in today’s digitally driven landscape, but mail theft remains one of the biggest credit card scams. Thieves can potentially steal your identity by swiping mail containing your credit card information. If your credit card issuer prints your full account number on the invoice, a scammer could use that number to make purchases. To avoid the possibility of mail theft, shred all documents that contain any sensitive information —even junk mail containing credit card offers can be a target these days. Better yet, switch your invoices and statements to digital format so you don’t have to worry about mailbox theft.
Malware or Viruses
You might think you’re installing a completely legitimate software update on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Instead, you could be downloading malware that monitors your keystrokes — such as your credit card information — and transmitting that information to a scammer. This scheme most commonly strikes when you’re using public Wi-Fi – so avoid logging into an unsecured network. If you absolutely must use public Wi-Fi, steer clear of any transactions that might reveal private data.
Regain Your Peace of Mind
If you’re concerned that you might be a victim of any of the biggest credit card scams — or that the effects might already be tarnishing your credit report — don’t wait another day to take back control. Contact our team at Ovation Credit. We’ll restore your name to its good standing and ease all of your credit concerns. Reach out for a free consultation here.