Here’s How to Protect Yourself Against the Credit Card Scammers

Everyone today is aware of the growing problem of scammers, generally using the internet, to cheat innocent members of the public in various ways. Indeed, it’s a problem that is getting more serious each year and it’s estimated that by 2023 credit card fraud alone is going to be costing retailers about $130 billion a year.

The good news is that using credit cards to pay for goods or services does give you, as a consumer, a good level of protection thanks to the safeguards that the major card issuers do have in place. For example, before authorizing any individual transaction, typically their system analyses certain features. These include:

  • The kind of transaction it is, whether online, in person, using contactless or with a PIN.
  • The location of the transaction, especially if it’s in a different country.
  • Your spending patterns, and whether it’s in line with them.
  • Unusual aspects like time of day or amount of money.

From all this information, an algorithm generates a risk score with a threshold above which it is blocked. It’s a fairly reliable method that tends to identify the majority of fraudulent transactions.

But, as you can see from the projected $130 billion figure quoted above, it’s far from foolproof. A key reason for this is the cleverness and inventiveness of the scammers who, more and more, are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to meet their nefarious objectives.

As a customer, there are several ways to protect yourself from falling victim and by far the most important is to keep your data safe. This is why many people prefer to use virtual private networks to connect. These effectively mask the user’s identity as well as give them an IP address that can’t be traced back to them. Using shared computers or other devices can put you at risk too, so this is also best avoided

If you do notice suspicious transactions, your first action should always be to contact your provider for credit card help just as you would if you had discovered that your card had been lost or stolen and needed to put a block on it or even if you wanted to request a change to your credit limit. Most bank websites also contain all the information you need about how exactly to query a transaction that you don’t recognise or believe may be wrong.

You can also rest assured that your bank or card provider will have taken all the necessary security steps such as SSL encryption and two-factor authentication to keep the fraudsters at bay. It’s also very likely that they will also have extensive anti-scammer advice on their website, complete with warnings about the latest techniques that are being used and how they can be identified and avoided,

Being aware of these safeguards, and generally using a little common sense, should give you all the protection you need – as well as the peace of mind that the scammer’s plans are being foiled effectively.

Huynh Nguyen

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