Watch Out for Credit Card Scams
Thieves are using many tricky tactics to steal information
Unfortunately, credit card scams are becoming ever more prevalent. According to the latest in Rippleshot's annual State of Card Fraud white paper series, fraud incidence rates and dollar amount losses have been on the rise since 2015.1 Meanwhile, the percentage of consumers who have had a card misused for CNP (card not present) transactions has also continued to increase. Thieves are stealing information at alarming rates, and they're utilizing all kinds of tricky tactics to do so. Watch out for the following credit card scams.
Scammers use email phishing tactics to steal your credit card info.
Phishing scams have been around for nearly 25 years2, and sadly, scammers are still finding them effective enough to continue victimizing unsuspecting email users. As recently as Q3 last year, subject lines about credit card information were still among the top ones employed by phishers.3
Such emails are disguised as coming from your credit card issuer, and either ask you for information directly or lure you to a fake version of the issuer's website where they attempt to get your info. Credit card issuers and banks want you to know that your sensitive data will not be requested via email. Always be sure you're dealing with legitimate landing pages. Instead of clicking on a link in an email, go to the company’s official website, or call the customer service number on the back of your card.
Some ask you to update your info via email in order to receive your new chip card.
Another popular email scam is the scammer once again pretending to be the card issuer. They send you a message asking you to update or confirm your personal information so you can have your card upgraded to an EMV/chip card. Don't fall for this either.
Hackers install malware on unsecure websites to steal your credit card info.
Sometimes, hackers install malware on otherwise legitimate websites where consumers shop or make transactions of some sort. This one is trickier to avoid because in these cases, even the website owners themselves are unaware of the problem. To help avoid falling victim to this, avoid using public Wi-Fi, make sure your browser is up to date, and only trust sites that have secure URLs beginning with https.
Scammers use a credit card skimming device to capture your info while you use your card.
While many scams take place online, you shouldn't let your guard down out in public, either. Scammers are using equipment to lift your information while you're simply making a purchase at a store or gas station.
As Latoya Irby at The Balance explains, "With credit card skimming, the scammer captures your credit card on an otherwise legitimate transaction. Scammers may place a skimming device over a regular credit card processing terminal. Gas stations and ATMs have been long-time favorites for scammers looking to place skimming devices. More recently, scammers have started placing skimmers over the credit card readers in self-checkout lanes at major retailers."4
Irby notes that some even go so far as to put cameras nearby to capture your PIN number. Always make an effort to hide your PIN number when you enter it.
Robocalls claim that they'll help you get a reduced interest rate on your credit card.
Phone calls aren't off-limits either. The robocall epidemic has been raging for a number of years, and some of these are specifically designed to get you to give up your personal info. One common example is the pre-recorded message claiming offering a reduced interest rate on your card. Don't fall for these because what you'll really “get” is stolen information.
Criminals buy your credit card info from others who have stolen it.
Some scammers don't have to go out of their way to steal your info. They can just buy it from others who have already stolen it. There's a black market out there just for this, making scammers all the more rabid in going after the info of unsuspecting consumers.
Scammers pretend to be from your credit card issuer and alert you about fraud.
Perhaps one of the sneakiest tactics of scammers is when they pretend to be from your credit card issuer and actually alert you of fraudulent activity. Of course, they try to get sensitive info from the consumer during this exchange. Be sure you are getting legitimate alerts.
Sign up for Mobile Card Fraud Alerts from Nevada State Bank. These are text messages that confirm debit and credit card transactions. You can simply reply with "yes" or "no," and the bank will either allow or block the transaction. Nevada State Bank also has more helpful information about how you can help protect yourself from fraud here.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC