Here Are 5 Places to Watch Out for Credit Card Fraud - Latest Global News

Here Are 5 Places to Watch Out for Credit Card Fraud

Carrying plastic can be much more convenient than cash. Additionally, you can earn airline miles, points, or cashback rewards by using a credit card for your purchases.

Unfortunately, there’s always a downside to not paying with cash – the Federal Trade Commission reported that over 101,000 reports of credit card theft or credit card fraud were filed in 2023, a 35% increase over the number of reports in 2021.

Although the ability to use your card anywhere is helpful, using a credit card in the following places can be risky.

Many credit cards offer valuable rewards for purchases at restaurants, bars or through take-out services such as UberEats or DoorDash. For example:

American Express® Gold Card: Amex Gold card members earn four Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at restaurants (see rates and fees).

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Cardholders receive 3% cash back on meals.

DoorDash Rewards Mastercard®: The DoorDash Rewards Mastercard allows cardholders to earn 4% cash back on DoorDash or Caviar orders.

However, paying your bill at a restaurant typically requires you to hand a credit card to your waiter – thereby giving someone the opportunity to copy your card details and use them for unauthorized transactions.

Instead, use cash, mobile payments, or self-payment when available to avoid credit card theft. And always keep an eye on your credit card statements after your stay to make sure there are no unexpected purchases.

Many companies have their own ATMs from which customers can easily withdraw cash. But ATMs not operated by banks are not always safe. They are vulnerable to skimming – that is, criminals installing devices that collect user data. They can then use this data to create fake cards and conduct unauthorized transactions.

Try to only use ATMs at major banks and those in brightly lit, public places monitored by security cameras. The FBI has a helpful visual resource showing what you should look for when using an ATM outside of a bank.

Other tips include:

  • Check ATMs, point-of-sale terminals and other card readers before using your card. If anything falls off – loose or damaged components – do not use it.

  • Check the keypad before entering your PIN to make sure it’s not a skimmer. The FBI recommends pulling on the edges of the keyboard to see if anything is loose or coming off.

  • When entering your PIN, cover the keypad to avoid recording by hidden cameras.

  • Use debit and credit cards with chip technology instead of a magnetic stripe. According to the FBI, there are fewer skimmers in the US who can steal your data via chip.

Like ATMs, gas pumps are also a common target for fraudsters. They can install skimming devices that can copy your information and later use it to make fraudulent purchases.

If you need to use your credit card at a gas station, the FBI recommends choosing a well-lit location. When using the pump, look for signs of tampering. Many gas stations put security tape around the cash register; If the tape is torn, it has likely been tampered with by scammers.

If you’re not sure if a gas pump is safe and you don’t have enough gas to get to another gas station, take your card inside to pay directly to the attendant instead of swiping your card at the pump.

Not all online retailer websites are encrypted or secure. Some look like legitimate websites but use phishing to collect customer information such as passwords or credit card numbers.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), “Scammers often create fake websites that are so similar to popular retailers’ websites that they easily trick consumers into providing payment information.” The scammers steal your credit card information and money, but you receive your purchase never. The FDIC warns that scammers are also developing fake apps designed to infect your phone with malware, steal your personal information, and even lock you out of your device and hold it for ransom.

Even large retailers are not immune to data breaches. Therefore, it is recommended to use virtual card numbers instead of the actual number of your card. Many credit card companies – including American Express, Capital One and Citi – offer virtual cards. These are unique digital credit card numbers that you can generate for an online purchase, protecting your real credit card information from theft.

If you come across a phishing website or app disguised as a legitimate company, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps – such as Apple Pay or Cash App – are becoming increasingly popular for sending money to friends and family and paying for goods or services. However, the Federal Communications Commission notes: “Unlike traditional banks and credit cards, payment app services often do not have the same protections against fraud.”

In other words, once the money is sent, it’s probably gone.

Only send payments to people you know and trust. The FTC specifically warns consumers not to send or receive a P2P payment from someone they don’t know. However, if you ever have no other choice, choose a P2P app that protects you from unscrupulous sellers by allowing you to send payments as a business transaction rather than a personal transaction.

In addition to reporting suspected scammers to the FTC, you can also report scams directly to P2P companies:

Even if you can’t help using your credit card all the time, there are some steps you can take to protect your card:

  • Set up fraud alerts: Most card issuers allow you to set up fraud alerts to receive emails or text messages when suspicious charges are made. If your data is stolen, these alerts allow you to take quick action.

  • Use contactless or mobile payments: Contactless and mobile payments allow you to use your card without having to physically hand it over or swipe it, keeping your information more secure.

  • Check your statements: Check your credit card statements regularly (at least once a month). By intercepting and reporting unauthorized transactions, you can alert your credit card company. The FTC states that you are not legally responsible for unauthorized credit card transactions valued at more than $50.


This article was edited by Rebecca McCracken


Editorial Disclosure: The information in this article has not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. Financial product details, including card rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication. Any products or services offered are without warranty. Current information can be found on the bank’s website. This website does not contain all currently available offers. The credit rating alone does not guarantee approval for a financial product.

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