Credit Card Scams: What to Do to Protect Yourself
More and more people are becoming victims of credit card scams nowadays, more than any other time. The latest Nilson Report has found that credit card fraud losses have reached an astounding $21.84 billion and continue to climb. Scammers have used a wide variety of tactics to prey on cardholders. Some tactics are as simple as people going through the trash to find discarded billing statements and then use your account to go shopping at your expense, while others are highly sophisticated such as a retail or bank website getting hacked, and your card number was stolen and shared. And many people, even the most cautious ones, can fall victim to their tactics. But most scams take place over the phone or on the internet. For example, unsolicited phone calls are often scammers try to make you believe they are calling from a real company. National Debt Relief, a leading debt relief provider, shared some important steps in a recent article titled, “Credit Card Scams: What to look for and how to protect yourself,” to educate the consumer on some of the most common scams, and what to do to protect yourself.
Common Credit Card Scams
Scammers are using a variety of tactics to steal from consumers. Many scammers are using confusion and fear from consumers to rattle and take advantage of them. One of these tactics is to say that they are calling from the local court and you have missed a jury duty. They also pretend to be from the police department calling about an unpaid fine or that a there is a warrant for your arrest. The scammers would then offer to clear everything up with a credit card payment over the phone.
Other tactics include debt reduction program scams and Skimming. Debt Reduction Scams are when scammers claim that they can have your credit card debt lowered immediately in exchange for an immediate upfront payment over the phone. Skimming is a more recent method of credit card fraud. It occurs when a scammer uses an electronic device called a skimmer to steal your credit card information during a legitimate credit or debit card transaction. When a credit or debit card goes through a skimmer, the device illegally collects your information from the magnetic stripe. This information, copied onto another blank card’s magnetic stripe, is then used by an identity thief to make purchases or withdraw cash in the name of the actual account holder.
More Credit Cards Scams
Another tactic used by the scammers involved the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They pretend to be calling from the IRS claiming that you owe back taxes and can pay by credit card over the phone. Or, claiming that you are owed a refund which they can load onto your debit card. But perhaps the most disturbing of all of them is when scammers try to take advantage of your generosity and compassion for others in need by posing as a genuine charitable organization, asking for donations to a good cause. Many people fall for these calls, which are popular in times of natural disaster such as the recent hurricanes in the United States and the Caribbean. Not only do these scams cost you money, but they also divert much-needed donations away from legitimate charities and causes.
What to Do to Protect Yourself
Although it is hard for a consumer to avoid all scams, there are some things he can do to avoid becoming an easy victim to the most common ones. National Debt Relief, through this article, has provided several tips the consumer can take to help himself.
A consumer should make it a habit to never give out his personal information over the telephone, and to transact his business personally when private details are involved. He will, therefore, be able to protect his sensitive personal data and keep them out of the hands of scammers.
Also, you should never give out the PIN of your credit cards to anyone else, especially over the phone. Your PIN should not be given to anyone else unless in an emergency. And if you must do so, it should be a family member whom you trust.
The article also reminds consumers of the importance of making sure that the anti-virus protection on your home computer is up to date and working because viruses on home computers can initiate credit card scams by scanning the computers for personal information and sending them back to the scammers.
Finally, always beware of unsolicited phone calls. Illegal robocalling is a huge source of credit card scams. Be wary of callers offering to slash your credit card rates significantly or even to zero, for an upfront fee. These robocalls can be very frequent, although the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been cracking down on them lately.
You will not always be able to prevent credit card scams because the scammers a lot of tools at their disposal, but can take steps to make it more difficult for them to get hold of your card and card numbers. Incorporating a few practices into your daily routine can go a long way to help keep your cards and account numbers safe.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation’s consumer protection agency, working to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices. The FTC advises that you that you keep a record of your account numbers, their expiration dates, and the phone number to report fraud for each company in a secure place. And make sure to contact your credit card company immediately if your credit card is lost or stolen. You can read more about credit card scams and what to do to protect yourself at the FTC Website.
National Debt Relief, which provided this article, is a top-rated debt relief provider in the United States today who educate the consumer on how to recognize and deal with credit card scams.