4 Common Credit Card Scams and How to Avoid Them

Scammers have been finding more and more ways to engage in credit card scams. They are becoming smarter, and more technical in terms of finding your information. The good news? We are getting smarter too. If you’re unsure about how to prevent yourself from credit card scams, here is a short list of some of the most common ways fraud happens, and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Computer Security

Computer security is the most common way that credit card scams occur. This is the act of a scammer taking your information directly from the router of your computer. It can be taken from an online shopping purchase, your keyboard input, compromised websites or even taken straight from a USB drive.

A common way computer security problems occur are when you are connected to a public or unsecured wifi. You may think you’re safely and privately online shopping while sipping on a hot coffee in Starbucks, but simultaneously your information is at risk for fraud if you are on a public server.

Ways to Avoid:

Avoid inputting your credit card information while connected to a public router, such as Starbucks or any unsecured wifi. Always be mindful when purchasing products from a website. Make sure the website is secure and trustworthy. If you’re not sure how to determine if a site is trustworthy, some indicators to look for include the “HTTPS” in front of the website URL, or the padlock symbol.

2. Card Skimming

Card skimming is the process where a scammer obtains your credit card information by stealing it and duplicating it without your knowledge. This takes place by illegally collecting the data from the magnetic stripe on your credit card, and being copied onto the magnetic stripe of a blank credit card. Once this process takes place, the scammer can have access to make purchases on your account, or withdraw cash.

This type of card fraud happens most commonly at gas stations, ATM’s or any form of payment where you insert your credit or debit card into a machine. Card skimming can be stolen electronically like explained above, but it can also occur more traditionally as well, such as collecting a receipt out of the trash and directly obtaining card information.

Ways to Avoid:

Be mindful when inputting your card into a machine and always check for suspicious components or additions installed. Make sure to cover your information when inputting card information such as a PIN into the keyboard in case of someone is watching, memorizing or photographing your information.

The Essential Credit Card Fraud Prevention and Detection Guide

3. Social Engineering Attacks

This is a tricky one. Social engineering attacks are very common, and can happen to anyone. Have you ever received a suspicious scam email or phone call? If you answered yes, you are a part of the majority who also do. The best thing to do in this situation is to ignore it, but sometimes they can be very believable. They may mimic their emails to look identical to the bank you use, or the phone company you purchase from which can make it very easy to fall into their trap. These scammers are professionals at manipulating people to give out confidential information.

Ways to Avoid:

Be aware and tentative about who you are giving out information to. Note that most companies rarely reach out to you directly for your information, and if that is the case, double check that it is credible. Always protect yourself by being extra cautious and cognizant of scammers.

4. Identity Theft

Although there are extreme cases where this does happen, it is not as common as the other three listed above, but it is important to be aware of it, because it can have the harshest effects on you.

Identity theft is the act of a scammer stealing your identity in order to commit credit card fraud. This information can be gathered through several different medias such as social media sites, receipts or bills collected from your trash or even stealing your mail. Having small detailed information about yourself on the internet can make it that much easier for identity theft to happen to you. With this information, they can re-apply for credit cards in your name without you even knowing.

Ways to Avoid:

Be mindful when putting information about yourself on the internet. If you want to post information about yourself online, make sure to turn on privacy settings. Do not let anyone access your personal information. Even information as simple as your birthdate or phone number can give an identity thief the missing puzzle piece to steal your card information.

Be sure to shred documents containing personal or financial information. Maybe even consider locking your mailbox in order to prevent mail theft. It is important to protect yourself by being on the lookout for suspicious acts on your online account by checking the history.

There are many ways credit card scams can happen, but being alert and knowledgeable can help to protect you against fraud. Fraud can happen to anyone, and being extra cautious by turning on your privacy settings, or taking five extra minutes out of your day to call and make sure that email was credible before sending out your information, can save you the inconvenience and hassle of a credit card scam.

We all know credit cards are essential; with that being said, it is important to have protection. Addition Financial has partnered with Visa to give Zero Liability fraud protection benefits in each of our credit card members in order to ensure overall coverage and security. To learn more about the benefits of our credit cards, click here.

The content provided here is not legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. Please consult with legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific needs or questions you may have. We do not make any guarantees as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not support any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability or legal obligations for your use of this information.


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