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What’s New In The World Of Credit Card Scams

Credit Card Scams

Credit card scams are constantly in the news even though companies and bureaus continue to make significant progress in trying to keep our cards safe. Their efforts have been successful in causing many tried and true scams to nearly die out, but what’s new in the world of credit card scams?

Just because credit cards are becoming more difficult to get information from, it doesn’t mean scammers are going to give up. In fact, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), 14.2 million credit card numbers had been exposed in 2017 alone! Making matters even more concerning is that this is an 88 percent increase from 2016. Credit card scammers are always changing and adapting to new policies and technology to make themselves more appealing.

Types of Scams

To stay ahead, or at least aware, of what’s new in the world of credit card scams, you should familiarize yourself with some of the common types:

  • EMV Chip Scams One of the most significant improvements to credit card security in recent years has been the addition of EMV chips. Sadly, this has also led to an increase in credit card scams related to the new chips by reworking some old tricks.
    • Then: When the EMV chips first started to replace old credit cards, scammers would either use a phone scam and call or email people claiming to be a representative of a credit card company or credit bureau who needed to verify or update the client’s card information (number, expiration date, and CVV) in order to send out their new card.
    • Now: EMV Chips have helped to deter credit card scammers from using cards in stores for “card-present” scams, but this has also helped them get smarter about “card-not-present” scams by increasing their presence in online transactions.
  • Interest Rate or Debt Reduction Everyone agrees that lower interest rates or debt reduction for current credit cards would be a welcome relief. That is why this is another old scam that often gets new twists.
    • Then: Typically, cardholders will get a call or e-mail from someone pretending to be with your credit card company promising lower rates and reductions in exchange for your information and an enrollment fee. This scam results in them, at best, taking the one-time enrollment fee, but can also lead to many more charges.

    • Now: After people started becoming aware of these schemes and mostly avoiding them, scammers will now use a robocall to prompt you to say, “Yes.” This response is recorded and used to okay their charges on your card.
  • Hotel Scams Another one of the oldest tricks in the book, hotel scams remain a favorite way to ruin a great vacation.
    • Then: Scammers would call unsuspecting travelers in their hotel room pretending to be the front desk needing to re-verify credit card information for their records and payment processing. Travelers would readily give out the information that would then be used for scams.

    • Now: Now instead of just calling hotel rooms at random, scammers will keep a lookout for potential victims by searching people who are or will soon be on vacation through social media. This allows them a more intimate look into the details of their lives and the ability to more convincingly portray themselves as a representative of the victim’s card company.

If They Have Your Information

We know that an ounce of prevention is a pound of cure, but that ideology does not translate into what we need to do during a scam.

  • Contact: If you have even a suspicion that your credit card or information is stolen, call your credit card company immediately. Not only will they be able to relay the charges made to your card, but they are also able to provide canceling services and reissue a new one.
  • Change: When you contact your credit card company of possible scams, they will work with you to provide a new PIN to make sure that it does not happen again.
  • Monitor: Be vigilant! Make sure that you know when and where you use your credit card. If you keep at least weekly track of when you use your card, it is easier to track where your information was stolen.

Awareness not only allows us to monitor our spending but is also a great way to see if our credit card information has been exposed to scammers. When we inform card companies of possible new scams, we can protect ourselves and millions of others.