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6 Ways to Prevent Credit Card Fraud

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Prevent credit card fraud

It's important to know how to keep yourself safe in the digital age when it comes to money. One way to ensure the safety and security of your money is to learn how to protect yourself from bank and credit card fraud. Check out our 6 easy ways to prevent card fraud happening to you;

1. Keep your eyes on the prize

Most retailers and service providers are very safe when it comes to using your cards. However, there are a few bad apples around, so it's important to be vigilant when you hand over your card. Always keep your eyes on your card when paying for services. If your card is out of sight, that gives the opportunity for dishonest people to copy your credit card information and security code from the back.

Luckily these days, most retailers have portable card devices so you can always remain with your card when making payments, but if they don't, go with the server to the card machine to complete your transaction. 

2. Watch out for ATM skimmer devices

Unscrupulous scammers have a wealth of tricks up their sleeves when it comes to getting your details. Skimmer devices, and more recently, shimmers, can be installed on ATMs or payment machines to copy your card information. To protect yourself, take note if the keypad or card slot is loose or looks different or bulky. Small cameras are also sometimes installed to capture customers typing in their pin codes. If a camera is pointing at the keypad – beware. Using your hand to cover when you type your pin code can be a good policy in general.

Shimmers are a bit trickier because there may be no signs of tampering. These more sophisticated models of skimmers are installed inside the card slot and usually cannot be seen at a glance. To protect yourself, pay inside of gas stations whenever possible and avoid stand-alone ATM machines, especially in remote areas.

3. Consider different payment options

Whenever you receive a new credit card, sign the back immediately. That way you do not have leave a “blank slate” for someone else to sign in case the card is lost or stolen. Also consider leaving credit or bank cards at home when they are not needed to minimise risk of misplacing them.

Near-field communication methods of payment can be more secure than cards in some cases. The technology means that payment apps like Apply Pay and Android Pay cannot be ‘skimmed’ like a physical card.

4. Monitor your bank accounts and card activity

You should regularly check your bank account and card activity so you can spot any suspicious charges or transactions you cannot remember. Lots of people only check their accounts or card activities when it’s time to make payments. However, if you watch regularly it is more likely you can catch something early.

If you spot any unusual activity, then you should contact the credit card company or bank directly and ask what to do. Often, there are specific numbers to call in these cases. Have these emergency numbers at hand so you can act if there are problems.

5. Beware of phishing scams

Fraudsters will do their best to catch you off guard. What better way than to pretend they are representing a reputable source and ask for key information? A good rule of thumb is to that if you were not expecting to be contacted by a company, proceed with caution.

For example, if you receive a phone call asking for personal information. Ask the person for their name, department and return phone number. This is one step to help verify the authenticity of the call. If they are hesitant to give this information or you are not able to call them back, there is probably an issue. If you are concerned at all, hang up and find the contact number for the company so you can contact them yourself. 

In any case, it should always be a red flag if you are being asked credit card numbers over the phone or via text message (if this transaction is something you didn’t initiate). Banks will not call and ask for your credit card number or pin code. If they require that information, it is typically when you call in and you must key in information to verify your identity.

6. Use common sense shopping online

The first rule is an easy one: Only make purchases from websites and online retailers you trust. That means that your credit card information is more likely safe. Additionally, do not buy from a website that isn’t secure. You can see this by the “https://” beginning the URL (instead of just http) and a lock showing in the browser bar.

The second rule is to keep your computer secure with anti-virus and malware software. The more a malicious person can find out about you, the more damage they can do. Consider carefully before giving any personal data online that isn’t needed and do not click suspicious links.

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Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk. Representative example: APR 1270% if borrowing £400 for 4 months. Interest rate: 292% p.a. (fixed). Total amount repayable: £665.48 by four instalments of £166.37. Maximum representative APR: 1604% if full loan repaid after 7 days.