We assume that our information is safe, and we can never fall victim to credit card fraud. But it is a fact that anyone can fall victim to credit card theft, even when your card is in your pocket. Unluckily, it can be a nerve-racking incident that can pose you an uncontrollable financial burden.
What is credit card fraud?
Credit card fraud occurs when someone uses your credit card information to purchase something without your authorization. It can happen when someone uses your physical credit card or uses the information in it without using your physical card.
The first scenario is that you lost your card or someone has stolen it to make transactions or purchases.
Fraudsters can also steal your credit card information illegally. Your account number, PIN, and security code may get stolen through several means. The possible scenarios are:
- Hackers have breached a company that deals with your credit card processing or where you used your card. Such data breaches target organizations and affect hundreds of people.
- Thieves have used credit card skimmer to read your credit card information in an authorized transaction at places like a gas station or ATM at a restaurant.
- Hackers have installed malware in your computer when you download something from the internet. If you use public Wi-Fi, the chances of such incidents are more. The malware software monitors your keypad entries, takes screenshots of your documents, and sends them to hackers.
- Fraudsters can also trap you to get your credit card information. They may ask to verify your information through a text message, fake website, email, or phone call. Once you confirm your information, they use this information for illegitimate transactions.
How is your stolen credit card information used?
Once the thieves get their hands on your credit card information, they can use it for many purposes.
- They can buy things from online stores.
- They may sell it on the dark web at a higher price and reveal your very important information.
- They can make a replica card of your original card and swipe it anywhere.
➡LEARN MORE: What to do if I have an overdrawn bank account with no money?
What to do if you have fallen victim to credit card theft?
If you get a hint that someone is using your credit card for transactions, rush to take the following steps:
- Instantly call the credit card company and tell every bit of information. Even if no transactions have been made yet, tell them that you doubt your information has been stolen. Many companies offer zero-liability policies that save you from bearing any fraudulent charges. As per Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), you may have to pay $50 if you reported after the thieves used your card, but you will not be charged even a penny if you reported before the card was used.
- Immediately change your PIN and passwords to prevent further damage.
- Keep a close check on your account transaction activity and report your bank if you find any discrepancies. Your credit card company may cancel your older credit card and provide you a new credit card with a unique number and PIN.
- Get a copy of your credit card activity report. You may recognize the accounts that you didn’t use and stop their usage.
- Regularly check your monthly credit card statement to notice any signs of fraud.
The bottom line
Remember, no matter how strict security you have employed for your credit card, your information can always be breached. Following some steps regularly can prevent major damage. Never save your credit card information in your web browser.
Set strong passwords and make a habit of changing your passwords religiously. Use your credit card only at trustable places and never reveal your information to unreliable sources.