The way your Credit Card Numbers Are Stolen

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Credit card fraud can happen to anyone, but there are things you can do to lessen your risks of being a victim. This is what you should know about probably the most common charge card scams?and?how to deal with them – plus some quick ideas to keep your card information secure.

Skimming: Using the information right off of the card

What skimming is and how it really works: Skimming is when a thief utilizes a small digital camera to repeat?and store your credit card information. Skimmed information may be used to create a counterfeit card – for example, it might be loaded onto a prepaid credit card.

Skimming happens a few different ways. It might occur whenever your charge card is taken away out of your possession, like at restaurants when you hand over your card to pay for your check. This may also happen via a skimmer mounted on a third-party card reader, like those found on pumps in the gas station or on ATMs.

How to prevent getting your credit card skimmed:?Use an EMV card rather than a traditional magstripe card. With EMV technology, your card’s information changes after every transaction, so it can’t be skimmed and used later. Make sure to use your EMV card by inserting it into the payment terminal, following a prompts and removing the card once the receipt starts printing. If you swipe it normally, it will process like a magstripe transaction with static data.

Phishing: Asking for private information

What phishing is and how it works: Phishing is a scam to obtain personal information?- like Social Security numbers, account numbers or card numbers – from consumers. It may occur via email, phone, text or email.

Phishers?gain your trust by using familiar logos and company names to represent themselves, or scaring you into believing that the private information is already compromised, and you need to provide information immediately for damage control.

How to prevent a phishing scam: According to Visa, you should be wary of emails, mail, calls or texts requesting personal information, regardless of the source. Don’t?provide any of your information until you’ve called your issuer – you’ll find the phone number around the back of your charge card – and verified the validity of the request?for yourself.

Spyware: Grabbing data out of your (or a merchant’s) computer

What spyware is and how it works: Spyware is software designed to collect your data?without you knowing or consent. It?can collect personal data like charge card and banking information, as well as user logins in the computers it’s installed?on.

A?large scale illustration of this is the Target breach?in 2013.?Hackers stole login information and hacked into Target’s system to set up spyware, which allowed them to obtain credit and debit information on approximately 40 million cards.

How to avoid a spyware attack: To avoid a spyware attack on your laptop, Microsoft recommends that you download anti-virus software and browse disclosures before downloading anything off the Web. Avoid downloading everything from sites you do not know and trust, don’t click suspicious-looking links, and close from windows rather than clicking “Agree” or “OK” on pop-ups.

? MORE: How to Dispute Fraudulent Credit Card Charges

Quick tips for keeping your credit card information secure

There are plenty of things you can do to reduce your risk of credit card scams:

Relax. If your card details are stolen, keep your perspective. Dealing with credit card scams is frustrating, but fraudulent transactions won’t set you back a lot more than $50 total, and that is only if your card is out of your possession and you don’t report it missing right away. If you have your card when fraudulent transactions go through, you will not be responsible for the charges.