Although the tactics we use to fight credit card scams are becoming more sophisticated with time, so are the scammers. Credit card fraud rose 44.7% over 2019 levels, likely due to rampant job loss seen during the pandemic. Fraud, in general, rose 138% over the last decade.
Knowing the most common scams can help you recognize a potential fraudster lurking on the other end of the screen, telephone, or over your shoulder. Watch out for these 5 scams.
1. The Hotspot Scam
You’ve likely been told to be careful when using public Wi-Fi. It’s easy for hackers to use an open Wi-Fi connection to steal your identity. While using a VPN will protect your IP, making your computer more difficult to hack, it can’t prevent the hotspot scam.
A hotspot scam occurs when you’re trying to connect to public Wi-Fi, and a box pops up, prompting you to pay for its use. You could also fall victim to a hotspot scam if you connect to a fake public Wi-Fi network. A hacker could watch your every move and steal your information.
2. The Sign-Up Farm
Sign-up farms masquerade as legitimate credit card companies, but you can usually tell they’re fake if their offers are too good to be true. Other times, a scammer will ask an account holder to use their information to sign up for their own credit card. In return, they’ll offer payment.
Victims often end up with a large balance, and the scammer will never pay them. Australians who want to take advantage of legitimate credit card offers should use iSelect. iSelect’s credit card compare feature will set you up with the best interest rates in the land down under.
3. The Charity Thief
A charity theft scam takes advantage of some people’s good nature. Right after a tragedy, like a wildfire or a flood, you may receive a call or email from an organization claiming to be the Salvation Army or Red Cross. They’ll come out swinging with a sob story you can’t say no to.
If a charity organization contacts you, don’t give them your credit card right away. Ask them for a call back number, their name, and their position. Hand up and search the Internet for the number that dialed you. More often than not, the number will be identified as fake.
4. The Overcharge Con
The overcharge con or scam is gaining traction since fewer transactions are completed with cash. An overcharge con begins when someone claiming to be from the bank emails, texts, or calls you explaining your credit card is overcharged on a recent purchase.
While they initially seem helpful, they’ll start asking you a bunch of personal questions. No legitimate organization will call you and ask for your credit card details over the phone. Hang up and check your credit card statement. Contact the seller directly if there’s a problem.
5. The Skim Sham
Skim sham is fun to say, but it isn’t fun to be a victim of this scam. The adoption of EMV chips has tried to cut down on skimming. However, a FICO study shows that 10% more credit and debit cards were compromised in 2018 than in previous years, and this number keeps rising.
A skimmer is a small electronic device that scammers install on card readers. It takes your information from the magnetic stripe on the card. Skimmers are becoming more challenging to detect, and it’s impossible to conduct a deep investigation for every ATM you see.
Touristy areas tend to have more skimmers, and you’re unlikely to use cash in a foreign country. Instead of using your plastic, try a mobile wallet and contactless payments methods.
How To Report Credit Card Scammers
Let your family and friends know about these 5 credit card scams and how to avoid them – you could share this page on social media. However, you could report scammers and suspicious credit card activity to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using the link below:
How To Protect Yourself More
If you want to be the first to receive the most notorious scams every week, then subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You’ll receive periodic emails – we promise not to spam.
Meanwhile, educate yourself with some other credit card fraud-related articles right under this paragraph. Last but not least, feel free to use the comments section below to expose cybercrooks.
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