By Click&Clean - Saturday, January 7, 2023. As credit card use increases, credit card fraud is on the rise. Fraudsters are trying to take advantage of the growing convenience of remote payment methods, the surge in online sales, and the increasing number and diversity of people who are turning to the Internet for transactions. Credit card fraud occurs when someone steals your account numbers, your real credit card, or sensitive card information and then uses it for unauthorized charges.
You may not even realize you've been a victim of credit fraud until it's too late, but knowing how the most common scams work and how to avoid them can help protect your finances. Here are five common scams and how to avoid becoming a victim of them.
If you receive any calls (robocalls) or messages from someone offering lower interest rates, beware! These calls or messages are scams! Their goal is to charge you a lot of money for something you could easily do yourself, to get your personal financial information to commit fraud, or both. It is safest to ignore all these offers and contact your bank directly if you're looking for a lower interest rate.
An overcharge scams take place when scammers send emails or make phone calls notifying you about an overpayment for some product or service. They claim that, in order to get a proper refund, you first need to "verify" your credit card numbers or follow steps that involve exposing sensitive information. Don't give up any sensitive information, such as your Social Security number, account details, etc. It is safest to hang up or close the suspicious email without clicking on any links or attachments. To understand the situation, check your credit card statement, contact your credit card company to verify a suspected overpayment, or contact the relevant company through their published customer support channels.
A charity scam is a type of scam in which fraudsters pose as well-known organizations and encourage people to make charitable donations. If you receive a call asking for a donation, do not give out any information, especially your credit card number. Before donating any funds, write down all the information provided by the caller, as well as the phone number they are calling from, and end the call. Then research the cause and organization using CharityNavigator.org to see if the charity named by the caller is legitimate.
Skimming and shimming scams are classic forms of stealing credit card information. Fraudsters install an electronic device, called a skimmer, on or near card readers and credit card payment terminals that discreetly records credit or debit card information while processing a legitimate transaction. Typically, the objects of such frauds are ATMs and gas pumps. To reduce the risk of this scam, try not to use ATMs where supervision of the machines may be less direct. One of the best solutions is to switch to mobile or contactless payments.
A phishing scam is similar to an overcharge scam in which thieves contact victims via phone calls, email, or text messages, and pose as a legitimate company, agency, or organization, but provide fraudulent instructions or links to gain access to sensitive information. They may use urgent or threatening language to force you to give them your confidential information, so never answer control questions during an unsolicited call. Don't fall for this scam when you receive an unexpected message from someone with an urgent demands for money or a credit card payment. Never download attachments or click on links in emails from unknown senders.