A lot of people look forward to the end of the year and all the discounts that are offered at this time of the year. There are others however who look forward to this time of the year for a sinister reason. A number of scams affect consumers all year but it is especially now that you have to be especially careful.
Credit Card Scamming
The use of credit cards to pay bills and make purchases online has significantly increased over the past few years. Unfortunately there has also been an increase in credit card fraud. These scammers use a device called skimmers that can read the information on the credit card. These skimmers can be placed over ATMs s and any other places with unmanned credit card readers.
There are other ways that consumers are placed at risk. Scammers use phishing which is a type of malware to go after your laptop or tablet. The scammer sends emails with attachments that promise dancing kittens or some other bait. When the user opens the attachment, malware instantly downloads on to the computer and leaves confidential information vulnerable.
Scammers also sends emails from a familiar sender with a link to a contaminated website that installs malware on to your computer. Some malware, called spyware, allows scammers to capture every keystroke — including passwords to your financial accounts.
They can also go through your trash to find discarded receipts or carbon copies of card numbers. If you interact with a dishonest clerk, server, or retailer they can copy your credit card information, including the security feature on the back of the card.
A telemarketing scam can also get your credit card information in order to claim a free gift (perhaps stating you must pay for shipping).
How can Consumers Protect themselves?
Sign any new cards immediately. By establishing your signature on the card, you make it much more difficult for someone else to erase or cover your signature and forge it in their own handwriting if the card is ever lost or stolen.
Carry your cards separately from your cash wallet. Most people carry their cards and wallet together. So if your wallet is stolen, your cards will be safe.
After you hand your card over to pay, keep it in view when you can.
Save all receipts in a safe place.
Open your billing statements as soon as you get them, and reconcile your card accounts every month the same way you would reconcile your checking account.
Report any suspicious activity on your card immediately.
Notify your card company when you’ll be traveling or changing residences.
Never lend your credit card to anyone.
Always destroy receipts by using a shredder or cutting them into small pieces; never leave receipts lying around
Don’t click on unfamiliar links in your email.
Keep safe this season! Let me hear from you!