Credit Card fraud: Are you aware of it?
Credit card fraud refers to unauthorized transactions done with of your credit card by any third party. Credit scams are mainly triggered by the intention to steal funds from other people. Because, it is the easiest way to enjoy services and goods using other people’s money. It can be defined as one individual stealing another person’s credit card number, details and personal details to perform unauthorized transactions without the consent of the cardholder. Credit card fraud is kind of identity theft that happens when someone obtains your personal details, credit card data or other crucial information to commit fraud.
How credit card fraud happens
There are multiple ways how credit card fraud can happen and fraudsters can steal your credit card details. Listed below are some of the ways credit card frauds usually take place in Malaysia:
- A fraudster may pick up your discarded billing statements from public places and collect crucial information about your card and personal details.
- If you are using your credit card at restaurants or shopping outlets, fraudulent clerks or waiters may take a photo of your credit card and use it for committing fraud. Sometimes, restaurants waiters may provide you with a duplicate credit card and steal your original card.
- You may get calls/SMS from fraudsters asking about your credit card details. You may also get calls offering you attractive and free travel trips or discounted travel package. They will ask you submit personal details or make payments and later on they will found nowhere. These are some of the common ways of robbing people out of their money by fraudsters.
- Fraudsters may hack your personal online banking site and collect your card bank/card details.
Types of Credit Card Fraud and How to Avoid Them
With more and more banks bringing their functions online and making them more accessible to consumers, related threats have also expanded. Risks on credit card usage and application have increased with convenient approval and usage processes. Let’s take a look at different types of credit card fraud and how to avoid them.
A common online fraud, phishing happens when fake emails are sent to you so as to extract your personal information. The look and feel of the emails are made to be such that it feels like coming from an authentic website. This may include, logos, information pertaining to the company, disclaimer notices, and even employee names. Every email comes with a link demanding you to click on it or a request to send your personal details.
The Way Out: Do not give out sensitive information, such as card number, account number, or card verification codes. Remember that banks never ask for customer information in any way from you. Contact the bank/company if you are not sure that the email is fake or authentic.
This happens when miscreants use your credit card details to carry out unauthorised transactions. The situation can become all the more serious if the scammer uses your personal details to take a loan or any line of credit.
The Way Out: Contact the bank immediately if you see that any unauthorised transactions have been made against your name. You may be subject to free credit monitoring in that case and recover the money simultaneously. Don’t forget to keep a tab on your financial statements.
This type of fraud is more advanced in nature. Miscreants use a fake magnetic stripe replicating the one your card has to get all your card details. The details are then used to encode a fake card and make fraudulent transactions.
The Way Out: Make sure you are aware of the merchant or POS outlets where transactions are being made. Make sure that the swipe machine used is authentic. Refrain from using your card at outlets which are questionable in nature.
Chances of fraudulent transactions are high if your card falls in the wrongs hands. Such transactions can happen both online and offline.
The Way Out: Make sure to inform the bank and block your cards as soon as possible. In addition, use a second degree of authorisation for the card, such as PIN. This reduces the threat to a considerable extent.
How to protect you card from fraudsters
You can actually prevent fraudsters stealing your card as well as personal details by being extra careful and treating your credit card like you treat cash. Listed below are some of the tips you can use to protect your credit card or credit card details from fraudsters:
- Sign on your credit card immediately after you receive the card.
- Do not share your credit card with anyone and provide your credit card details to anyone.
- Don’t respond to unknown calls/SMS asking for your personal as well as credit card details.
- Don’t let others take a photocopy of your credit card.
- Keep the customer care number of your credit card issuer handy so that you can immediately report any abuse or unauthorized transactions.
- In case there is a change in your address, immediately notify your credit card issuer.
- Check all your expenditures against your credit card statement when you receive it. Reconcile all your bills at the end of the month.
- Don’t respond to any charges asked over phone and report it immediately in writing to your credit card company.
- Tear your old credit card when it expires.
- Don’t forget to check your credit card when it is returned by a cashier/waiter to ensure that they have returned the original card.
- Don’t use public or unsecure computers for making online transactions or shopping.
- Don't write your credit card PIN on a note and carry it along with you.
- Don't leave your smartphone unlocked when you are outside. Anyone can open it and pick important information.
- Even if you have too many credit cards, don't carry all the cards with you. Carry only what you require. Because, if you lose your wallet, you lose all.
After all, if anything suspicious happens and somebody uses your credit card for unauthorized transactions, please report the same to your credit card provider immediately.
Steps to take in case of credit card fraud
In case your credit card has been compromised with, you can take the following steps. This will ensure that the damage is minimal and in control.
- Make sure that you inform the bank at the earliest as soon as you notice the breach.
- Be prepared to contact the police and make sure that you provide exact details, such as dates and amounts transacted.
- Change all passwords and PIN numbers to prevent further damage. PIN change are effective when fake cards have been made and transactions are being carried out. You should change all passwords and PIN numbers on a regular basis as well.
- Make sure to keep track of any activities and inform the bank accordingly. You can check through online records available on the bank’s internet banking facility.
- Print out credit reports regularly. This can be done with the help of credit report websites. These services are usually free in nature, and you can get as many credit reports in a year as required.
To summarise, be extra careful while making transactions. The aforementioned practices should help you maintain your credit card in a safe and secured manner.