No matter how cautious you think you are, scams are becoming more and more sophisticated, so once you’ve applied for your credit card and received it, it’s essential you keep it safe.
Over 1 in 3 identify fraud cases are related to credit cards, so minimise your chances of becoming one of them by finding out exactly what modern credit card fraud looks like, and how you can prevent it, both online and in person.
In the online age, ‘card-not-present’ fraud has become the most widely used method. Criminals steal your information and card details to make payments remotely, and this can go on for some time before you notice.
First things first, make sure you only give key details to legitimate sites. Emails and websites may look official but can be designed to look authentic by scammers in order to trick you into revealing information. Go to their site yourself via your browser if you’re suspicious. Check the security icon next to the URL (website link at the top) – it should be a locked padlock or unbroken key symbol. No link to secure payment methods like PayPal and bad reviews are other red flags.
Even if you’re happy that the person or company you’re giving your details to is legitimate, try to avoid saying your credit card details in a public place.
If it’s online, avoid public Wi-Fi. If you are out and about and can’t access home broadband, your mobile data connection is usually more secure than the public Wi-Fi in your local coffee shop.
Skimming is when fraudsters steal your details using a skimmer attached to an ATM or card reader. These details are then used to create a counterfeit card, or to make purchases.
Luckily, improvements in technology mean this type of fraud is less of a risk now, but still keep your card in your wallet or purse until you have to use it. If any ATM or card reader you come across looks like it’s been tampered with then it’s best avoided.
Lost and stolen card fraud
If someone finds your lost card or steals it from you then they can use it until it’s cancelled by you, suspended by the bank, or it hits a spending limit.
Always be aware of where your card is, especially if you haven’t used it in a while. If it’s lost, then contact your bank and cancel it. Often you can quickly do this online at the click of a button.
Also, don’t just throw your card away if you no longer want it – cancel it and cut it up. The same goes for important documents – it’s always worth destroying them before binning them.
This is essentially where someone applies for a credit card using your information. Someone could apply for a credit card in your name and destroy your credit rating, or they could use a different name but link it to your bank account.
To avoid this, make sure you don’t have sensitive information readily available in real life or online, inspect your bank statements regularly, and check your credit score hasn’t unexpectedly changed.
Fraudsters are always creating new methods to scam you, which means you need to be up to date and aware.
Keep your details safe, authenticate who you’re giving information to, check your accounts regularly, and report anything unusual immediately.
It never hurts to play on the safe side.