How to avoid credit/debit card fraud

Credit card fraud is on the rise worldwide and so are the different types of credit card scams.
Internet has made Credit card fraud easier and the scammers are getting smarter and use all sorts of tricks. These range from phony phone calls and emails to credit card skimmers and Wi-Fi hot spots to obtain your personal information.

What are the common tricks these scammers use?

The credit card fraud stars can take advantage of an upgrade in a particular bank. For example Centenary Bank is upgrading to Visa cards. They then send you emails purportedly from the bank asking for your details. Do not respond to those emails. If anything, call the toll free hotline of the particular bank.

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Credit card scammers can use pre recorded phone calls to call informing you of the ‘new offers’. They mostly use lies like reduction in interest rate if you already have a loan at the bank. Once again, for clarification call the bank yourself.

Sometimes, the scammers can call you, or send a text message informing you of fraudulent activity on your account. You will then be asked to provide a few of your bank details by the scammers. Please do not offer your bank details. Call the customer help line and confirm.

Hotel Front desk scam. This is common for people who book hotels using their credit cards. Scammers can steal data from the receptionist and call you asking you to avail some information because they are ‘balancing books’. Be ware of such people, if possible go to the hotel yourself and confirm.

Free Wi-Fi. When someone wants to update their phone or laptop, they normally look for Wi-Fi due to the high internet needs an update needs. Scammers can create un-secure open Wi-Fi hot spots. If you connect to such hot spots, you are freely gifting scammers your information. Make sure you connect to secure Wi-Fi hot spots only.

The above scams aren’t just restricted to phone calls. Scammers can send emails asking you to update your information or avail any information.

Related Article: Visa and Easy Go card safety measures

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Providing your credit card details in any of the above cases is all a scammer needs to commit credit card fraud. The best thing to do is not give out your credit card information any how. Make sure you confirm who needs your information and what information they need.

Once your information has been compromised by scammers, they can do anything from calling your credit card company or bank posing as you and claiming the card was lost or stolen to filling out fraudulent credit card applications and making purchases.

What if you are a victim of credit card fraud?

In case you have unknowingly been compromised by scammers here are a few tips.

Contact your credit card company/ Bank

As soon as you notice suspicious activity on your account, take action. Get in touch with your provider or financial services firm right away. They can help you monitor your accounts and report suspicious activity.

Practice vigilance

You need to set yourself up with the proper tools to detect a scam early on. One easy way is to download your bank’s mobile apps and keep track of all your account transactions. You can also set up mobile alerts for your transactions where the bank notifies you by text that a transaction has been made on your account.

Change online passwords and PIN numbers

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This is done in order to prevent further fraudulent transactions by controlling the ways criminals can use your credit card. Also, un-link it from any online websites bill pay sites like Jumia, Amazon, PayPal that are currently linked to it and change all online shopping passwords. Check to see if these shopping accounts have been compromised.

Recently, there was a documentary on VICE on how a scammer uses dark web to do credit card fraud. As noted earlier, the internet is a great aid to these scammers. Be careful most especially as you do your online transactions because scammers have the ability to hack into these online databases and steal your information.


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