Instances of credit card fraud are becoming increasingly common despite various government agencies continuously warning credit cardholders of possible frauds that may cause them to lose the money in their bank accounts. For example, statistics released by the Gujarat CID Crime Department revealed how more than 14,000 people in Gujarat have fallen prey to online card frauds with some of them even ruing how they lost their life-long savings to these scamsters.
Common credit card frauds
There are so many ways credit card frauds happen that even technology fails to summarise how new-age frauds manage to gain unauthorised access to information and use the same to pay for their expenses. Some common credit card frauds include:
- Credit card loss or theft.
- Skimming your credit card information, such as at a petrol pump.
- Hacking into your computer to gain access to your credit card details.
- Scammers calling you regarding fake prizes or wire transfers.
- Phishing attempts, which involve sending fake emails to deceive you into sharing your credit card information.
- Shoulder surfing, where someone looks over your shoulder at the checkout to steal your card details.
- Stealing your mail, which may contain sensitive credit card information.
While it is challenging to completely prevent hackers from attempting fraudulent activities and scammers from finding new ways to exploit your information, there are measures you can take to reduce your risk of becoming a victim or minimise the impact of fraudulent activities on your accounts.
How to shield yourself from credit card fraud?
Contemporary credit cards are designed with advanced security features to provide protection against fraudulent activities. Furthermore, you have the option to utilise free credit monitoring services to maintain a vigilant approach. Here are some simple steps you can take:
Choose credit cards with zero-liability protection
Choose a credit card that offers zero-liability protection, ensuring you won’t be held responsible for unauthorised transactions. Many credit cardholders are not aware of the “zero liability” concept, thus, causing them to suffer greatly in case of inadvertent transactions made on their lost cards.
The zero-liability policy is a contractual provision found in credit card agreements that state cardholders will not be held responsible for unauthorised transactions made on their credit cards. This policy is offered by most major credit card issuers and provides cardholders with protection against liability for unauthorised charges. It means that cardholders are not obligated to make payments for any unauthorised transactions and cannot be legally pursued for such payments.
Consequently, even if there is a fee associated with availing of the zero-liability policy, it is worthwhile since cardholders are relieved from the obligation to make payments for those transactions. This brings a significant sense of relief, as cardholders are not held accountable for any financial liability resulting from unauthorised charges.
Check your accounts regularly
Monitor your accounts regularly and carefully review your transaction history for any suspicious activity. Make it a habit to frequently review your credit card statements and online account transactions to ensure that all the listed transactions were authorised by you or any authorised users. If you come across any suspicious activity, promptly contact your card issuer to report and dispute the transaction.
Credit monitoring provides a means to verify the accuracy of the information in your credit report and helps identify any fraudulent transactions or discrepancies, such as duplicate loan accounts, ownership issues, or changes in personal details. These factors can have a negative impact on your credit score.
In recent times, identity theft has become a significant concern with a rise in fraud cases. To combat this, credit monitoring services continuously monitor extensive databases to detect any misuse of personal identity. By enlisting the help of credit monitoring services, you will receive regular notifications, either via email or SMS, regarding changes in your credit report. If you identify any unauthorised transactions, you can promptly seek resolution from the relevant financial institution. Taking swift action can help prevent significant financial losses and avoid a decline in your credit score.
Sign up for transaction notifications
Sign up for transaction alerts provided by your bank or credit card issuer. These alerts will notify you of any transactions made with your card, allowing you to quickly identify and report any unauthorised activity.
Monitoring your account regularly and utilising credit monitoring services are effective ways to stay updated on any changes to your account. However, you can take your account security a step further by enabling alerts through your card issuer.
By setting up alerts, you can receive notifications for different types of transactions, including exceeding a specific limit, international purchases, balance transfer requests, and other relevant activities. This additional layer of protection adds an extra level of vigilance, allowing you to quickly identify and address any suspicious or unauthorised actions on your account.
Protect your card information
Safeguard your personal information by using strong, unique passwords for your online accounts, and avoid sharing sensitive information with unverified sources. To safeguard your online card and banking profiles, it is crucial to create unique and strong passwords that prevent hackers from accessing multiple accounts with the same login information.
Make your password long and complex, incorporating a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols (if allowed). Consider using a memorable phrase or an entire sentence to create complexity. Replace certain words with numbers and use symbols like ampersands. Avoid writing your passwords down anywhere, as physical records can be vulnerable to theft or loss.
Be aware of your surroundings while using your card
Secure your credit card information at every step. Prior to finalising any purchase, regardless of whether it's conducted online, in-store, or over the phone, it is important to prioritise the security of your information.
For online transactions, ensure that the website URL begins with "https" and avoid using public Wi-Fi networks. When making in-store payments, ensure that your card is not visible to other customers. Moreover, when sharing your credit card number with a phone representative, double-check that you initiated the call to ensure its legitimacy.
By following these precautions, you can help protect your personal and financial information from potential risks.