Protecting Yourself Against Credit Card Fraud (Part 2)

Credit card fraud can happen to anyone. That’s a fact. What’s worse is that it’s one of the fastest growing crimes today and it’s getting worse every year.

The sad thing is that it’s also one of those crimes that can affect you even if you do everything in your power to prevent it!

That’s because companies that hold your credit card information aren’t invulnerable to cybercrime – JP Morgan Chase & Co., Sony and EBAY Inc. are just some of the companies that have had customer data stolen recently.

That doesn’t mean you should make things any easier for fraudsters to get your credit card information!

Here are some of the most common credit card don’ts you should avoid at all cost:


Credit Card Fraud Prevention Don’ts

Vigilance is your best weapon against credit card fraud. You should always know exactly where your credit cards are, how many you have, how often you use them and what you use them for.

Plus, it’s also pretty helpful to double check your credit card statement(s) often just to make sure the ONLY purchases being made with your card are yours.

Of course, there’s one more key factor you should be paying attention to when it comes to preventing credit card fraud – never reveal your personal information to anyone you don’t know whether it’s on the phone, via SMS, through email or regular mail.

Here are the credit card fraud prevention don’ts you must be aware of:


Don’t Fall for Phishing Scams

What makes phishing scams so dangerous is that they are tricky to recognise. The fraudster will look, sound and act legitimate when communicating with you – whether it’s through email, phone, SMS or regular mail.

Here are two common phishing scam examples:

  • If a Fraudster Calls You: He/she will sound very nice and professional and might even use the real name of someone working for a bank, government agency or retailer. He/she might say that your account was “compromised” or that they need to verify your personal information, login info, credit card number, pin number, etc. – DON’T DO IT!
  • If a Fraudster Emails You: He/she will email you using the same format, signature and logos a bank, government agency or retailer. The email may even have a working link that goes to a landing page where you have to enter your personal information or credit card number – DON’T DO IT!

Keep in mind that phishing scams will also try to get your information through offers (ex. coupons, free rewards, etc.) and account related issues (ex. account upgrades, account validation, account alert, etc.).

So before you give out your personal details to a stranger, just remember that banks, credit card companies, government agencies will NEVER call or email you asking for your personal information – especially your credit card number!


Don’t Overlook Suspicious Credit Card Purchases on Your Statement

Not checking your credit card statement(s) is bad enough when it comes to paying for someone else’s unauthorised charges, but it’s even worse to see a suspicious charge and completely ignore it because you “think” it might be a charge you made.

Not every fraudster will make big purchases using your credit card – some fraudsters will make smaller unauthorised purchases on multiple cards to avoid being caught too soon. And if you have a large credit limit and make numerous purchases per month, it can be an easy thing to miss.

Unfortunately, credit cards issuers in Singapore don’t make the credit card charge dispute very easy – as you’ll have to fill out numerous forms and pay a “retrieval fee” (ex. $5.00) per dispute. And if you don’t file a dispute within 10 to 14 days date of the disputed transaction – it’s on you.

But it’s even worse to pay for the unauthorised charges made by someone else using your credit card!


Don’t Let Your Credit Card out of Your Sight

Whether you’re making a purchase at your favourite retail store or you’re going out for a night on the town with your closest friends – you should always keep track of where your credit cards are at all times!

Unfortunately, fraudsters love to prowl places where alcohol is present – especially overseas!

You shouldn’t let your credit card out of your sight (especially at bars and clubs) for two huge reasons:

  • Because Thieves/Pickpockets are a Problem: There are plenty of ways you can have your credit card stolen by fraudsters. They might be bold enough to pretend to be staff and ask for your card so you can make payment or they might also straight up pickpocket your wallet while you’re busy talking to someone. By the time you figure out that you’ve “lost” your card, the scammer is already purchasing a cartful of items at his favourite online store.
  • Because Skimming is a Problem: Skimming involves a fraudster using a credit card reader, which can electronically store all of your credit card information, and sometimes, it’s the bar/restaurant’s staff members that are doing it. When you hand over your credit card, keep an eye on where your card is going or follow the staff member to make sure your card is only being swiped at the establishment’s device and not a skimmer.

Don’t forget – if you do find out that your credit card has been lost or stolen – call your credit card issuer to cancel it immediately!


Don’t Expose Your Credit Card

Yes, flashing around your credit cards while waiting in line to make payment or sitting at a bar stool waiting to pay for your drinks is a great way to attract thieves who like credit cards with high credit limits (especially overseas).

But that’s not the only reason you shouldn’t be flashing around your credit cards.

You have a smart phone right? Then you know that smart phones allow you to zoom in and take some really good pictures.

Fraudsters like them too for the same reason – to snap photos of your credit card while you’re not paying attention.

What’s worse, if you’re paying with your debit card, they can snap a photo of your card AND check out your pin number too if they’re sneaky enough!

So keep your credit (and debit) cards in your purse or wallet until you’re ready to make your purchase!