With the growing preference of the people to do online transactions using their credit cards, the risk of Credit card fraud has also increased significantly. This write-up enlists a few important tips to keep yourself safe from credit card fraud.
With the growing popularity of online shopping and payment portals, most people prefer using these portals for payments. While online platforms have made shopping and payments easier than ever before, it has also increased the risk of credit card fraud. Being a credit card victim can be inconvenient and in most cases, costly. But, there are certain ways by which you can avert the fraud.
What is credit card fraud?
When someone uses your credit card for any unauthorized transaction without your knowledge, it leads to credit card fraud. This can happen in two ways-
When you lose your credit card, it can be used online or in-person to make an unauthorized transaction.
Fraudsters also steal your credit card credentials and can do unlawful or unauthorized transactions.
What is credit card cloning?
Credit card cloning is a form of identity theft in which scammers create a fake credit card by using data stolen from a person’s actual card.
Creating a credit card clone is not rocket science. All a scammer needs to do is to swipe your card on a device known as a skimmer, which is readily available even on some popular e-commerce websites for as little as ₹1,400 ($20). The skimmer can be placed at ATMs, retail stores or simply be carried around in one’s hand.
“The skimmer, unlike the regular swiping machines, permanently stores a person’s data, which can be easily retrieved using software”.
The scammer then transfers the data to another card with a magnetic strip such as a hotel key or an old credit or debit card—a reason why banks ask their customers to cut their old cards into pieces—and use it to make purchases.
Identifying credit card fraud
Be vigilant and follow the signs that fraudsters leave behind:
- Review your monthly credit card billing statement for unknown transactions.
- Scan for bills from unfamiliar sources for accounts that don’t belong to you.
- Track messages from your credit card supplier for any unfamiliar queries like a change of address, request for a new card, blocking the current card, etc.
- Enroll in an identity theft protection service
Are you a victim of credit card fraud?
You may be a victim of credit card fraud, even when the card is with you. To avoid facing consequences, it is important to monitor your credit card accounts. If you discover fraud on your credit card, you should immediately take the following action:
- Report the loss, theft, or unauthorized transaction to your credit card company. Credit card companies also offer zero-liability policies, which means you won’t be liable for any fraudulent transactions on your accounts. According to federal law, if someone uses your stolen credit card before you realize and report, you will held responsible for only $50 of any fraudulent charge. The law also states that if you report the loss before the card is misused, you will not be liable.
- Regularly update your PIN and password to prevent credit card fraud.
- Monitor account activity if you are not sure how your information was compromised.
- Even though you have blocked access to your card, it is advised to keep an eye on your bank statements and report any signs of fraud, if noticed.
- Request a credit report. A sign of fraud will first reflect on your credit card statement and later on the credit reports. When you report fraud, you will get a copy of your credit report to verify. In case of any fraudulent inquiries on your credit report, contact your creditor in-person.
File a missing report with police and document all legal formalities that you have made with creditors, credit bureaus, and other authorities regarding the crime.
How do you protect yourself?
- Don’t let your card out of sight. The waiters managed to steal data because unsuspecting customers would hand over their cards, which would then be secretly swiped and skimmed.
- Register your mobile number with the bank and subscribe for alerts for your transactions. Inform your bank as soon as you notice any suspicious spending and have your card blocked.
- Inspect an ATM before transacting and do not insert your card if you find any suspicious device connected to the machine. We suggests entering the wrong PIN in the first attempt to ascertain if the machine is rigged or not.
- Memorise your CVV number—the three digit number at the back of your card—and then scratch it from your card.
- Always carry only those cards that you really need.
- Check your wallet or purse when travelling. Ensure that you collect your card before leaving a billing counter, ATM, or fuel station.
- Shop only from reputable websites or vendors when shopping online. For example, check that the web address begins with ‘https’. The ‘S’ stands for ‘secure’.
- Never share your credit card number or personal information with someone on the phone, unless you are certain of the source.
If you become a victim of a credit card fraud, despite taking all the necessary precautions, remember, you are not alone. Always report the incident for assistance.