The methods used to scam the general public out of their money are becoming more elaborate than ever. Advanced technology makes these methods look legitimate and familiar to the unsuspecting eye. As a result, credit card and debit fraud continues to be on the rise. The use of technology in our daily lives won't be going anywhere anytime soon, so it's important to know what steps to take to keep your money safe. Read these five essential steps of how to recognize credit and debit card fraud and the essential steps to avoid becoming a victim!
This is one of the most common ways for hackers to collect sensitive information from unsuspecting victims. They send requests for personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, under the guise of reputable companies. The email or phone calls can look professional and legitimate, leaving the average person unaware of criminal intentions. It is important to remember that a reputable company will never solicit private information like this through the form of a phone call, email, or text. Suspicious links, e-mail contacts you don't recognize, typos, and poor grammar are all common signs of phishing and should make a user wary about sharing personal information.
Skimming is when a thief duplicates your credit card number or copies your personal PIN to make future illegal transactions that don't require a physical card. It happens most commonly at payment machine terminals such as ATMs, metro stations, and gas stations. Skimming goes as far as to make fake machines that fit perfectly over the original or they have tiny cameras ready to record your PIN input. As technology advances, they are hard to spot. Avoid being complacent by taking the extra moment to walk inside the store to pay for your gas. Also, inquire to your bank about switching to a card with chip embedded technology which will make it hard for scammers to skim your data at all.
Pay With Your Phone
It's obvious that we are all addicted to our phones. They contain our family photos, reminders for work meetings, GPS, and everything in between! So why not add your own personal wallet? Smartphones are advanced to the point where you can services like Apple Pay or Android Pay to complete in store transactions. And apparently, it's the safer option too. Stores use tokenization technology, which means every time a transaction is completed, the payment information is changed and no sensitive information is actually stored and collected.
Stay Away from Public WiFi Networks
This is not to say that you can't browse the internet at your favorite coffee shop or at the airport, but save your shopping and banking for at home. Public WiFi makes it easy for hackers to access an unprotected connection and retrieve your information quicker, right underneath your nose. Always use a private VPN to encrypt personal data and check to make sure that websites you provide with sensitive data are secured.
With the convenience of retrieving our documents electronically, it's easier for us to have an "out of sight, out of mind," attitude. But this is exactly what hackers count on! A common strategy hackers use is to take out several very small amounts of money to see if their actions or flagged or noticed. When no action is taken, it's a green light to make more bolder transactions, which means an increased headache for you. Ask your bank to set an alert for transactions made over $100 or when a transaction is made without a physical card present. Thieves thrive off complacency, so review your statements on a regular basis and inquire about suspicious charges.