Ever since credit cards were introduced, fraudsters have been trying to hack them. Over time, security mechanisms have got tougher – and hackers have also got smarter, meaning you have to stay a step ahead to avoid credit card fraud.
However, it is not always some clever or sophisticated hack that compromises your data – it is YOU! 😯
Surprised? Well, don’t be.
In an overwhelming number of cases, users themselves have been careless with their passwords and PINs, clicking on fraudulent links, sharing personal data, making them an easy target for such hackers.
Here are 6 simple ways to avoid credit card fraud:
1. Beware of phishing scams
Fraudsters are always trying to trick you, and phishing is one of the most common methods – sending an apparently genuine email with a malicious link, which prompts you to share / update your card number, PIN, CVV code etc on a fraud site set up just for that. Always carefully check the source of the call and sender of such emails. The logo, brand colours and text may all be genuine, but if you hover on the link, the real name of the fraud site is visible.
A recent variant is to call the cardholder from a “credit card company” and trick you into sharing your credit card details. If unsure, call the the authorised number of the bank and re-confirm if anyone called or emailed.
2. Cut up your old credit cards, and opt for email statements
People typically crumple and throw away old credit card statements. Dumpster diving is not very prevalent in India but even then, always tear up your statements into several pieces or get a paper shredder. They contain information a fraudster could find useful. Almost all banks now offer an option to “go green” and get statements on email. Go for it, reduce the paperwork. Likewise, do not throw away expired cards as is – cut them into pieces, especially through the credit card number.
3. Don’t EVER write that card PIN on a paper napkin in a restaurant!
Aha, did that make you sit up? 😛
The number of people who go to a restaurant and write their card PIN on a paper napkin or yell it across to the steward, is simply mind-boggling. In fact, not just hotels and restaurants, but even at petrol pumps and other such merchant locations. Always have the payment machine brought to you and only then input the PIN.
4. Card lost or stolen? Report it ASAP!
When you realise your card is lost or stolen, call your bank and report it right away so they can block it. Depending on which card you have, banks limit your liability for transactions made on the card from the time of loss to the time of reporting.
5. Paying online? Check if the site is genuine and secure
Just as people discover the ease and convenience of shopping and paying online, fraudsters are coming up with innovative ways to scam people. Not just the basic look and feel but even the logos of payment gateways and security providers are copied to make it look authentic.
Always ensure the website you’re shopping on is genuine, has a security certificate, and is secure. In the site address bar, the company name and security certificate details are visible and which you can click on. There is also an image of a lock and the URL begins with https.
6. Keep your personal information private
Almost all credit card transactions now require authentication by way of an OTP sent to your phone. In case of a problem, when you call the customer care department, you have to verify your identity via a T-PIN or answers to certain questions which ideally, only YOU are supposed to know.
Always try to keep your personal information private to avoid a “social engineering” hack, where a hacker tricks you/people at the bank by gaining your confidence and access to personal information.
If given a choice to set questions, avoid the most obvious ones (place of birth, mother’s maiden name, car colour etc) which can be easily guessed and used to lock you out of your own account by changing your billing address, mobile number and so on.
Cheers to safe usage of your credit card account! 😀