Keeping up with the latest credit card scams can be difficult, but not doing so can be dangerous for your identity. Criminals are getting smarter, and they're getting better at stealing our information. Here are the top five credit card scams you should avoid.
Chip Credit Card Scam
Over the past few years, banks have been switching to chip technology. The chips in new credit cards are meant to help deter identity theft by requiring the card to be with the machine for the payment to process during in-person transactions. Unfortunately, many people aren’t yet sure how this technology works, and criminals are taking advantage of this lack of knowledge.
Identity thieves are sending out fake forms or requesting information from you with the guise that you’ll be sent a credit card with the chip soon after. This method is always a scam. Banking institutions choose to replace the card automatically or order the cards in-person at your local banking institution. You’ll never receive a form asking for your card numbers or personal information from your bank.
Credit Card Skimmers
Skimmers are one of the oldest scams around, and they’re extremely tough to avoid. Skimmers change the device that is used to swipe your card. After someone swipes their card, it steals all of your debit and credit information in a matter of hours.
The locations you’ll most likely find these card skimming machines are in stand-alone ATMs or at gas stations. The best way to avoid this type of scam is to inspect the machine carefully before using. If the color is off (green or pink), do not swipe your card. Unfortunately, some match the machine color. Additionally, if you see tape on the machine, don’t use it.
Some of the worst scams are those that prey on people’s good heart. Charity scammers take advantage of people’s goodwill by pretending to be a charitable organization. While calling individuals is common, the most popular method is contacting people through email. These scams almost always follow national tragedies or disasters where people are much more likely to give money. In addition to stealing the money you give, they also take your credit card information and can charge hundreds of dollars within hours.
It can be difficult to avoid this type of scam, but the best way is to contact the Better Business Bureau for information on the charity to validate the organization before donating. You can also check websites like Charity Navigator or GuideStar to investigate any information that may be available for the fund. If they’re a real organization, they should be happy to receive your call and donation at a later date.
Credit Score Repair
If you don’t have a high credit score, it can be easy to fall for scams that offer to raise the number. The most common way you’ll be contacted for this type of scam is over the phone. While the scammers may seem legitimate, it is still illegal. In most situations, the criminal requests that you pay a fee for services. Your credit score may rise temporarily, but it will eventually drop back down to where it was previously. Worst of all, these criminals gain access to all of your information.
To avoid this, don’t give your personal information to anyone over the phone or online. In other situations, your credit and debit account numbers can be stolen, and charges may appear at a later date.
Fake Fraud Alerts
The worst thing that can happen to anyone is if they receive a call from their credit card company saying there’s been fraudulent activity on your account. Naturally, we want to help our bank to solve what’s happened, no matter what information is needed. A popular scam takes advantage of this panic. You’ll receive a call that sounds official, and the scammers announce that they’ll remove any fraudulent charges with a bit of information.
This contact is clearly a scam because your banking institution would never ask for your information over the phone or even through email. Most companies will send a letter in the mail asking you to call them or visit a location near you. When in doubt, go to the bank and speak to someone in person.