With the advent of online commerce, credit and debit card fraud has exploded. Unfortunately, credit card fraud can go unnoticed until it causes serious damage. Here, we’ve outlined what you need to know, how to protect yourself, and what to do when you’re targeted.
What is credit card fraud?
Credit and debit card fraud occurs when a scammer gains access to a victim’s card information and goes on to empty their accounts, commit identity theft and more.
Credit card fraud can be pulled off in many ways:
- Card skimming involves a scammer tampering with an ATM or payment terminal. The machine reads the victim’s card information and transmits it to the scammer.
- Brute force attacks employ an auto-dialer to access the card numbers issued within the target’s BIN. The scammer can perform infinite guesses until they land on the card’s expiration date, security code and numbers.
- Online phishing is done through insecure links embedded in emails or online ads, or through bogus surveys, solicitations, job offers, dating profiles and the like. The scammer uses these means to gain access to the victim’s credit or debit card information.
Follow these tips to stay safe from credit and debit card fraud:
- Sign up for alerts. Many issuers will send you texts or emails when new charges post to your account or card-not-present transactions happen.
- Monitor your checking and credit card accounts frequently so you can spot the first signs of fraud.
- Use strong, unique passwords across all your accounts.
- Shop with caution. Only shop reputable sites and avoid clicking on pop-up ads or links in emails from unverified senders. To confirm a site’s security, look for the padlock icon and the “s” after the “http” in the URL. Avoid storing your credit card info in online shopping accounts. Finally, make sure the security settings on your devices are current.
If you’re targeted
If you believe your card has been frauded, take immediate steps to mitigate damage. First, let the credit card company know about the fraud. Similarly, if your debit card has been frauded, let High Point Federal Credit Union know as soon as possible. Your old card will be canceled, and you’ll be issued a replacement card immediately. You may also want to place a credit freeze on your accounts to prevent the scammer from taking out a loan or opening another account in your name.
After you’ve reported the fraud to your financial institution and/or credit card company, be sure to report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov, so others can avoid becoming victims.