For as long as credit and debit cards have been available there have been people trying to steal your information. Credit card fraud methods have changed over the years but their intent is the same,:to rob you of your hard-earned money. While the number of credit and debit card fraud complaints have been declining over the years due to more sophisticated cards and detection methods, they have begun to spike again recently as a new wave of thieves enter the picture. These criminals use a variety of methods of defrauding the public, but there are a few things you can do to ensure you don’t fall victim to their scams.
Over The Phone
If you ever receive a call from someone purporting to be from your credit card company or bank, be very wary. Most credit card companies will rarely contact you directly unless they are trying to verify suspicious charges on your account. Even then they will never ask you to reveal any details about the card. Since they are the ones issuing the card, they already have this information about your account. The most they will ask for is your verbal confirmation of certain recent charges and will supply these amounts to you. If you are ever unsure about a particular call, simply hang up and call the number on the back of your card to contact the credit card company directly.
On The Web
While website scams have decreased in recent years because of tighter security on most sites, the internet still provides a fertile playground for thieves. Before shopping on a particular site, look for some type of certification that the site employs a secure way of paying. This means that the information you enter while checking out is encrypted when it’s sent to the merchant for processing, which makes it harder for thieves to eavesdrop on your transaction and steal your credit card information.
Email is another popular way of scamming you and some of the recent examples have gotten very sophisticated. These emails may actually look like a legitimate one sent from your bank or credit card issuer and can be hard to identify as fraudulent. Always be suspicious of any email you receive that asks you to confirm details about your account or personal information. Many times these thieves will have some of this information already and are trying to get the last piece they need to access your credit.
The Old-Fashioned Way
The final way that criminals are stealing your information is by physically handling your card. With the explosion of smartphones, these scammers can now simply take a picture of the front and back of your card and charge away. Always be careful to know who you’re handing your card to when shopping or dining out and be aware of how long your card is out of your site. Most restaurants and retailers now use portable credit card readers that allow them to process the charge in front of you to avoid this problem. If you are ever suspicious of a waiter at a restaurant or a gas station attendant, you can always swipe the card yourself for protection and slide it right back into your wallet.