The misuse or exploitation of people’s credit card information to register new accounts prompted about 271,000 complaints to the Federal Trade Commission in 2019.
Although it is not a recent crime, there have been significant changes. The primary goal when [credit card theft] first began was to take the victim’s wallet.
How is it possible to steal your credit card information?
Sutherland asserts that your information has been stolen when a fraudster obtains credit card information and can make purchases. Fraudsters are motivated, people. It might be a fake website, phone, or email. They will decide on the strategy that will benefit their intended audience the greatest.
You might be asking how hackers and criminals could obtain your credit card number in the first place when your physical credit card is no longer the typical target. This can happen in a variety of ways, including the following:
- Phishing emails
- Public WIFI network
- Data breach
- Your trash and ATM skimming
- Familial fraud
- Website spoofing
We will be discussing it one by one:
Even though phishing emails appear to be from trustworthy sources, they are fake and have ulterior motives. The goal of most phishing emails is to trick you into clicking on a bogus website that looks real so you can enter your account information.
Another typical phishing technique is to give you a plausible (completely bogus) reason to call an organization, like your credit card company or the Social Security office. They will put a fake phone number on their website, and when you call, they will demand personal information, such as card data, to “confirm your identity.”
Your computer may get malware infection if you download or open the incorrect file from an email or website. The purpose of this malware is to export data from your credit card and other sources that thieves can use to steal your money or your identity. If you use a skimmer or keylogging software, for instance, while your credit card is in your wallet, you can put it in danger. However, if you unintentionally click a link in a phishing email, this type of spyware may get onto your computer or another device. Watch what you download and install your antivirus program for spyware protection.
Public WIFI network
Entering your credit card number or reading sensitive papers on a public network, such as those found in hotels and airports, might swiftly put you in danger. If you frequently access the network away from your home, be sure to establish a VPN on your computer.
Your credit card information and other personal information may be compromised by targeted security breaches that happen in large businesses like banks and retail enterprises. Tens of millions of people’s personal information was stolen in some of the major data breaches that occurred during the last 10 years, like the Capital One data breach in 2019.
Your trash and ATM skimming
Keep in mind that some thieves are still attempting to obtain your credit card information via traditional methods. Your trash may contain valuable information about your credit card and account details, as well as the names of the organizations you use for your savings and investment accounts.
ATM skimming continues to happen today, albeit less frequently. Fraud of this kind happens when ATMs and other contactless payments are hacked by spy gadgets that steal your card information when you swipe or enter your card.
Familial fraud, according to Sutherland, is the unlawful use of your card or account by a relative, acquaintance, or someone else you know. When someone you know steals your identity, it is one of the trickier fraud types to manage. There is still time to have your name cleared and absolve yourself of any liability for statements you didn’t make.
Criminals utilize phishing scams via faking websites, or website spoofing. It involves building a phony website that closely resembles the original. Nearly identical versions of the menu, colors, logo, and even URL may be found everywhere. Or how do you go to such a site? by repeatedly clicking on links that show up in emails or on social network timelines. So, even though you believe you just scored a great deal, your credit card information was stolen.
According to the FBI, there were 25,789 reports of spoofing in 2019, with losses pegged at USD 300 million. Among all cybercrimes, it ranks third in terms of victim loss.
Formjacking, also named as virtual skimming, is one particular type of data leak. It occurs when a cybercriminal directly obtains your personal information using an e-commerce platform. I’m talking about a web retailer. By embedding malicious code on the page after you’ve made a purchase, the hacker intercepts your data. What’s worse is that neither you nor the store is aware of what is happening—only the cybercriminal.
How to determine, if your credit card data has been stolen?
- Credit Report
- Use a service that monitors your credit for identity theft
- Watch the statements on your credit card
Let us discuss in detail:
All users of AnnualCreditReport.com will receive free weekly credit reports from the three major U.S. credit bureaus through April 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). The three credit bureaus typically provide free credit reports once every 12 months. We suggest regularly examining your credit reports to make sure no fraud is occurring. Your credit score could be lowered by any erroneous or fraudulent information on your credit report, which would make applying for credit or a rental more challenging.
Use a service that monitors your credit for identity theft
A monitoring service can help you examine any misconduct by looking through your credit reports if you observe odd behavior on your credit accounts. You can pay for or use services offered by your bank, one of the three credit bureaus, or companies like Identity Force, LifeLock, and Identity Guard.
Watch the statements on your credit card
You can remain on top of your credit accounts by frequently reviewing your credit card bills. This way, you can keep a closer eye on your transactions to make sure they correspond to your actual spending patterns. If you do happen to notice any strange behavior, report it right away to the business that issued your credit card.
What happens if your credit card is stolen?
As you might anticipate, the majority of thieves use stolen credit card information to make unauthorized purchases. Your card information can be “skimmed” or “shimmed” by a criminal, who will then use it to create a duplicate card and engage in a variety of financial fraud schemes.
They will buy luxury goods and gift cards if they have your plastic card (a scam known as “carding”). What brings them here? Gift cards are practically impossible to find, whereas luxury items have significant resale values and are therefore less frequently purchased.
Even though these crimes continue to happen often, most credit card theft doesn’t involve the physical card.
Con artists instead steal from online businesses using the “no card present” theft approach. Since gift cards are easy to resell, untraceable, and don’t need shipping, they commonly buy them. After data breaches, hackers may also obtain a sizable number of credit card numbers, which they can subsequently use to make money online.
There are serious repercussions if your credit card details are abused.
How to respond if your data is stolen?
- Send an immediate alert to your credit card company
- Report to the police
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Send an immediate alert to your credit card company
If you suspect that your information has been compromised (for instance, if a fraudulent purchase appears or someone you don’t know is added as a signor), your best line of action should be to get in touch with your credit card company right away. Your card will then be locked, and you’ll get a new one to prevent any additional fraudulent purchases.
Report to the police
The next action is to escalate by calling the police to report the occurrence. Card fraud is a criminal just like any other form of identity theft. According to Weisman, it is doubtful that they will catch the robber. However, if someone claims that you tried to buy something, the report can be used as evidence.
Preventive measures to safeguard your credit card information:
You can immediately take several steps to safeguard your identity and credit card information. The majority of them are also easy to put into action, including the following:
- Merely use secured websites
- Don’t divulge account details over the phone
- Examine your credit card statements frequently
- Watch your card when making in-person purchases
- Please remove your credit card information from internet stores
- Protect your personal information
Let us discuss it one by one:
Merely use secured websites
The FBI warns against entering your credit card number and personal information on dubious websites. The website of the agency claims that “sometimes a small padlock icon appears to symbolize a better level of protection to transfer data.” “This badge provides some assurance, but it does not guarantee that a site is secure.”
Don’t divulge account details over the phone
The FTC warns people to be suspicious of anyone who calls and asks for their credit card number. This is true, especially if they called you to initiate the transaction.
Examine your credit card statements frequently
The best way to prevent credit card fraud is to keep a close eye on your accounts. Check your reports at least once a month to ensure that every charge on your credit card is yours. If you notice any incorrect charges or purchases on your accounts, immediately contact your credit card company.
Watch your card when making in-person purchases
If you’re paying with a credit card in a restaurant or retail place, stay away from situations when the individual processing your credit card turns their back on you and takes your card out of your line of sight. If they can move it to a different location far from you, they might be able to write down your card’s number, expiration date, and security code. Similarly, keep your wallet in a safe place at all times. Avoid leaving your cash in a prominent, unlocked position while out at a club or taking a break from your desk to eat at the office.
Please remove your card information from internet stores
The easiest thing you can do to avoid the possibility of becoming a victim of a data breach is to remove your credit card information from any websites or shops that are not necessary. Customers may save their credit card information to their Amazon or Lyft accounts to make checkout easier. Your danger of getting hijacked, however, increases if you continue to store your banking information on these websites.
Protect your personal information
Be cautious with your personal information because it may be difficult to track it down once it has been stolen and disseminated. The Federal Trade Commission has a wealth of useful information on this issue.
It’s crucial to remember:
- Only divulge your account information if you are positive the person on the other end is reliable.
- Never write down your credit card number on a piece of paper.
- Observe everything you do when using your card.
- In case there is a mistake on your credit card statement, keep your receipts.
Although credit cards will always be a target for fraud, there are things you can do to lessen your chances of becoming a victim. Furthermore, it’s reassuring to know that, regardless of how much a fraudster charges on your bank card, you can only be held liable for up to $50 of those fees, and it’s likely that your credit card company won’t ask you to pay back any of it.
Make sure to protect your card information as much as you can in either scenario. Even if the money you lose due to credit card theft is only a modest amount, you’ll still have to deal with the inconvenience and anxiety that it causes.