Besides the credit card and bank account hacks you likely hear about in the news, you also have to watch out for everyday scammers attempting to access your credit card information. Through common credit card scams, criminals are getting more sophisticated. That means you could have vulnerabilities you aren’t yet aware of. Brush up on today’s most prevalent ways you could become a victim of credit card scams.
You may hear about services that can get rid of any bad credit you have on your credit report. Because such services are advertised online and on TV, they can’t be outright scams, right? The truth is that you cannot have negative information wiped from your credit report. That can only be done with inaccurate information that isn’t true. Don’t hand over your hard-earned money to such companies. Rather than making your bad credit history disappear, it will instead be the company that vanishes, along with your payment.
Phony Fraud Alerts are Common Credit Card Scams
Criminals have now gotten so sophisticated that they can believably impersonate your credit card issuer. What they often do is call you and say there’s fraudulent activity on your account. To proceed, they’ll need to verify your information. The criminal may already have your credit card number, but not the three-digit code on the back of your card or your zip code. That’s the information needed to make online credit card purchases. Before giving in to panic, take a breath. Hang up and dial the number on the back of your credit card to determine whether the call and the fraud, is legitimate.
After learning how to improve your credit score and doing so successfully, you may start receiving loan offers. Be aware that not all these offers are legitimate. Criminals or unscrupulous lenders may claim they can offer you a low-interest loan in exchange for you paying fees upfront. Victims may hand over their information to take advantage of the offer, only to have the bogus lender use their information to apply for a legitimate loan and take their money.
One way to determine if such an offer is real is if you have a low credit score. Usually, reputable lenders will not offer low-interest loans to consumers with poor credit scores. Low credit scores are often deemed a liability to lenders. While they will not always automatically reject an applicant with less-than-stellar credit, they usually offset the risk by including a high interest rate with the loan.
Before you use your card at a gas pump or poorly surveilled ATM, ensure there isn’t a skimmer over the reader. Card skimmers look like legitimate card readers, only they steal your information after you run a card. To spot a skimmer, test the reader to see if it wiggles or comes loose before running your card. There may also be loose or damaged parts on the reader. If you’re ever in doubt, do not use the reader.
Just like gap insurance is intended to help lenders pay off their vehicle in the event of a crash, the same applies to credit insurance. For instance, if you were to become physically disabled and unable to work and continue paying your credit card bill, credit insurance would take care of that for you. The scam involves low-premium credit insurance from scammers who take the premiums without holding up their obligation when you have a legitimate reason for not being able to pay your credit card or loan.
You’re at a coffee shop or some other public location and you access the Wi-Fi. But think twice about accessing your bank or credit card account or any other sensitive information. What can happen is criminals can hack your connection to see the log-in information you enter and use it for ill purposes. If you have to log into your credit card or bank account, use your phone’s mobile data rather than public Wi-Fi.
Phishing Might be the Most Commons Credit Card Scams
One of the older forms of credit card fraud is phishing, but it’s still one that deserves a spot on the list. How it works is criminals send you an email claiming there’s fraudulent activity on your credit card account. You’ll be asked to send over account information to verify the activity, thereby handing over sensitive details. Always think twice when asked to submit financial information from companies you don’t contact yourself.
Maybe you recently filed for bankruptcy and seek a way to build your credit score back up. You may learn of a service that gives you a new Social Security number, making it easier for you to apply for and be approved for a loan. The detail to remember here is that you cannot legally obtain a new credit identity. Instead, you’ll likely have to accept high-interest-rate loans.
Constant vigilance is a must when it comes to protecting yourself against credit card scams and fraud. Be sure to keep the above information in mind in the future.