Debit and Credit Card Scams and How to Avoid Them

by Josh Biggs in Finance on 25th May 2023

The increased use of both debit and credit cards has significantly simplified our daily transactions, making them more convenient and efficient. However, this widespread adoption has also triggered a rise in card-based scams. Criminals are continually looking for new ways to gain access to your credentials, making it essential to understand the common ploys and how to avoid falling victim to them. In addition to protecting yourself from scams, it’s important to know your options for dealing with credit card debt, such as credit card debt forgiveness.

Phishing and Vishing Scams

Phishing scams typically involve fraudulent emails or messages that appear to be from legitimate financial institutions or companies. These messages prompt you to click on a link or provide sensitive information, such as your card details, passwords, or account numbers. Vishing scams are similar, but they occur via phone calls rather than emails or messages.

How to avoid phishing and vishing scams:

  • Never click on suspicious links or provide sensitive information via email or text.
  • Verify the sender’s email address and the website’s URL.
  • If you receive a suspicious call, hang up and contact the institution directly using their official phone number.

Skimming Devices

Skimming devices are small, discreet gadgets that criminals attach to card readers, such as ATMs or gas pumps. These devices capture and store your card information when you swipe it, allowing the scammers to use your credentials for fraudulent transactions.

How to avoid skimming devices:

  • Inspect card readers before using them, looking for any unusual attachments or signs of tampering.
  • Use contactless payment methods or chip-based transactions, as they are more secure than swiping.
  • Regularly monitor your account activity to detect any unauthorized transactions.

Card-Not-Present (CNP) Fraud

CNP fraud occurs when a criminal uses your card information to make a purchase online or over the phone without the physical card. This type of fraud is common since many websites and retailers do not require a card’s security code or PIN for transactions.

How to avoid CNP fraud:

  • Only shop on secure websites with a padlock symbol in the URL bar and an “https” web address.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi for online transactions, as it may not be secure.
  • Regularly update your passwords and use two-factor authentication whenever possible.

Card Cracking

Card cracking is a scam where criminals convince you to provide your card information or PIN in exchange for a promise of easy money. They typically target young adults and college students through social media, luring them with attractive offers or financial assistance.

How to avoid card cracking:

  • Never share your card information, PIN, or passwords with anyone, even if they claim to help you make money.
  • Be cautious of offers that seem too good to be true, especially on social media.
  • Research any organization or individual offering financial assistance before engaging with them.

Lost or Stolen Card Scams

Criminals can use your lost or stolen card to make unauthorized purchases or withdraw cash from your account. They may also attempt to contact you, pretending to be the financial institution, to extract more sensitive information.

How to avoid lost or stolen card scams:

  • Always keep your cards secure and never leave them unattended.
  • Report lost or stolen cards immediately to your financial institution.
  • Be cautious of any unsolicited communication regarding your lost or stolen card and verify its authenticity before providing information.

By staying vigilant and informed, you can protect yourself from debit and credit card scams. Make it a habit to periodically review your account activity, use secure payment methods, and never share sensitive information with unverified sources. Remember that knowledge is power, and being aware of these scams and their warning signs is the first line of defense in safeguarding your financial well-being. 

Categories: Finance