What is Credit Card Fraud?
Credit cards is a prevailing payment instrument that allow you to easily avail an instant short-term credit while making purchase. It increases purchasing power, besides other benefits like reward points and cashback etc. Making credit cards payments in time can further improve credit score which opens door to easier loan approvals. Despite these merits it carries along, also the risk of being target for fraud by fraudsters and scammers. There are several types of credit cards frauds and there are also its ways to prevent these frauds.
In today’s capitalist driven society, credit cards are a way of life. Using credit cards wisely can even benefit a person by helping them build a good credit rating which is essential when applying for loans, renting vehicles or staying in a hotel. Credit card fraud is a problem that is now flourishing due to sophisticated scams and credit card theft. As the technology progressed for a comfortable human life, so did the fraudulent techniques to trick credit card holders. No matter how safe your wallet is, fraudsters explore new ways to use your credit card information without your knowledge. This may be because somewhere, at some point of time, you were careless with your credit card details. Most credit card fraud involves lost or stolen credit cards. There are ways to prevent credit card fraud and you must always be cautious to take steps to ensure the security of your cards. Here are a few smart tips / ways to prevent / guard against credit card fraud and ensure you do not fall prey to tricksters:
Smart steps to prevent credit card frauds
Keep Your Credit Cards Safe at safe locations
One of the simplest ways to avoid credit card(s) fraud is by keeping your credit cards at safe locations. Store / Place or Carry your credit cards in your wallet or purse and ensure that it remains close to your body contact so that it cannot be snatched away by snatchers or pick pocketers easily. While shopping in a high traffic area with mass gathering, carry a smaller purse so that it becomes harder to steal or sneak into. It is further safer to Carry only the one or two credit cards you should be using rather than all the credit cards you have while going for shopping. Store rest of the credit cards at safe place in locker or cupboard under lock and key at home. After paying for the purchase you make, ensure you put your credit card away immediately. This would further be safer as the thieves can take pictures of your credit card with mobile phone and use it later to cheat you. The better is to not leave your credit cards exposed for longer than necessary.
Always verify the amount on your credit card receipt after paying for the purchase you made to verify its correctness. Before leaving the Shopping Mall / Store etc. double check that you have put your credit card(s) back in place and are in your possession. This simple steps can prevent credit card fraud.
Avoid Giving out and sharing Credit Card Information
One of the most common and prevalent ways for credit card scammers is calling up the cardholder in a disguise of a customer service representative, and extracting credit card information and other confidential details. It is important to be extremely cautious while giving out your credit card information or any other confidential data over the call. A bank or financial institution never initiates calls asking for such information. Provide your credit card details only if absolutely necessary on calls that you have initiated to bank authorities or the helpline number given on the back of your card. Else do not give your credit information to anyone who calls you requesting the number. Credit card scammers have been known to pose as credit card issuers and other businesses to trick you into giving out your credit cards vital information resulting frauds.
Be aware of PoS Skimming Fraud
Under this technique of fraud, fraudsters attach a small skimming or scanning devices to Point-of-Sale (PoS) terminal to hack credit card data. These devices automatically scan and store the card data while a customer undertakes a swipe transaction in PoS. Similar devices may also be attached on to ATM card slots to copy card information. A camera may be secretly placed over the keypad to capture card PIN.
To avoid this type of fraud you should watch out for suspicious attachment to PoS terminals. Never forget to shake the slot to find if a cloning attachment comes loose. Always cover the keypad with your hand while entering the PIN in ATMs.
You can also simply tap your card to pay on Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled PoS terminals. This reduces the skimming risk to the barest minimum. Moreover, transactions of amount Rs 2000/- or less can be done without keying in the PIN reducing the chance of your PIN getting cloned.
Use your Credit Cards safely Online on the internet
Rapid increases of number of online shoppers in the recent time has driven the fraudsters to find online techniques on the internet to trap cardholders.
Phishing and vishing involve impersonating official communication from the credit card issuer which in turns acts as an enticement for you to click on some fake links. This will usually take you to websites that may look authentic however is not. Once your card details are entered, fraudsters can access the details and use them for their advantage.
You should always verify the URL and never click suspicious links. Always use your card issuers or bank’s official website for any online transaction or contact your card issuer helpline numbers directly. It is always advisable to not to click on random links that may require or ask for your credit card information. Though these links might seem original / genuine, however, these links are often phishing scams and are actually known as phishing. Phishing is an illegitimate way of obtaining crucial information. It is noteworthy that credit card companies and other financial institutions never ask for credit card information. Further, you should always ensure that you check for a secured web address while logging in to your bank or credit card account. The secured web site or page should start with ‘https’ and not ‘http’. look for https:// in the address field and a padlock icon in the status or address bar of your internet browser. Only enter your credit card number on secure websites that you can be 100% sure are legitimate
Another form of these type of fraud is when fraudsters impersonate bank officials on phone calls, asking you to share an One Time Password (OTP) to ‘unblock your card’ or ‘verify your card’ or ‘redemption of the reward points’ or ‘extend the validity of your card or reward points.’ It is also a good habit to report the fake telephone/mobile numbers to your card issuer.
Your credit card details may be stored in a number of online platforms for faster payments so that you can make purchases seamlessly with just a few clicks. For example, you may save your credit card details on Amazon, Flipkart etc. In such cases, ensure you use strong passwords with a combination of upper- and lower-case characters, numbers, special characters, and avoid writing or sharing your password.
Report Loss of Credit Cards Immediately
The sooner you realize that you have lost or misplaced your Credit Card(s) report it to the Card issuer so that the card issuer can immediately initiate action so as to avoid fraudulent charges by deactivating / blocking the missing credit card(s). Reporting your lost or stolen credit card immediately to the card issuer reduces the risk of fraudulent usage. Despite, to this, if there is any charge after the loss being intimated to the credit card issuer, the liability rests with the credit card issuer and not you. Every credit card issuer has 24×7 Customer Care Service for these reporting. You can call their toll free number or send a mail to report loss of card immediately. cards are ever missing.
Review Your Billing Statements Each Month and Be an alert customer
Ignoring your detailed credit card bill every month may result in discrepancies, inexplicable charges or transactions therefore it is advisable that you should not ignore your detailed credit card bill, however, should check for any inconsistencies, inexplicable charges or transactions, if any and report the same immediately to the card issuer in order to avoid paying for the transactions made on the card. Scammers are always exploring new methods to trick you, the only way to get rid of such tricks is to be alert and take utmost care of your credit cards.
Inexplicable charges or transactions carried out on your credit cards can be the first sign of credit card frauds. If you come across such charge, you did not make, no matter how insignificant amount that may be, reporting the charge to your credit card issuer immediately is must to ensure further fraud. Credit Card issuer in such cases initiates appropriate replacement of the existing credit card to ensure secured transactions by the card holder only.
Shred Anything with Your Credit Card Number on It. Do not further throw your credit card statements directly into the dust bin or trash as they typically may have your full credit card number printed on them. It is always better to shred them to keep dumpster divers from getting their hands on your credit card number.
Following these smart steps can prevent credit card frauds to a greater extent.