Here in the UK, conservative estimates place the cost of credit card fraud at over 600 million pounds per year.
Many people feel much happier about carrying credit and debit cards than cash as it is safer.
However, there are many ways in which both can be fraudulently used to run up large bills in your name.
A few typical examples are –
Theft of the card: Someone physically steals your credit card or debit card from your bag, car, wallet, etc and then impersonates you to deceptively gain goods or services. Alternatively, they can use it in a “card not present” fraud.
Card-not-present fraud: Your credit card details may be gathered from stealing the card, skimming, credit card receipts or by copying information during a transaction. With the 3 digit security code on the signature strip the fraudster can then easily use this information to purchase via mail order, fax, phone or through the internet, all with YOUR credit card.
Counterfeiting (aka ‘skimming’): Here a dishonest employee in a petrol station, coffee shop, etc, runs your card through an electronic device which reads all the information from it’s magnetic strip. This information can then be used for card not present fraud as above.
If you believe your credit card has been lost or stolen –
- Call your credit card issuer immediately to have the card stopped. Generally, you are only liable for the first 50 pounds of fraudulent use though, typically, most credit card companies will waive this fee.
- Check credit reference agencies – alert them to the fact that your credit card has been used fraudulently in order to protect your credit rating.
Steps to prevent credit card fraud –
- Always keep your credit cards safe and be vigilant, watching what cashiers are doing with them.
- Never disclose your PIN number, especially to your credit card company (this is a seperate scam that will be covered later)
- Check your credit card statements thoroughly, looking for any transactions you wern’t expecting to appear.
- Shred your paperwork – some fraudsters will go as far as rummaging through your bin to obtain your personal details.