What is credit card fraud – can you prevent it from happening to you?
What is credit card fraud?
It’s when your credit card details are stolen by fraudsters, who either use them to make payments, or to sell them on to other criminals. This activity may even have an effect on your credit report, for example, if the fraudsters have exceeded your credit card limit.
Signs that you may have been a victim of credit card fraud
Sometimes it’s possible to spot if you’ve fallen foul of fraudsters who’ve stolen your credit card details. Signs that might suggest this include the following:
- Your card is rejected when you try to use it to make a payment.
- Your credit card or bank statements show purchases that you don’t remember making.
- Your credit card provider lets you know that you’ve exceeded your card limit. This would also be noted on your credit report.
How can credit card fraud happen?
Fraudsters can gain access to your credit card data in a number of ways. These include:
- Card skimming
This is when they counterfeit or clone your card without your knowledge.
- Gaining access to lost or stolen cards If they’ve got hold of your card, they’ll be able to use the details to make purchases.
They could send you fake emails from companies that seem reputable, asking for your credit card details.
- Phony online banking websites
They may set up fake online banking websites in order to gain your details.
How to protect yourself against credit card fraud
There are some steps that you can take to minimise your chances of becoming a victim of credit card fraud.
- Keep your credit card in sight when you’re using it – you don’t want to give criminals the opportunity to clone it.
- Keep your PIN private – don’t use easy-to-guess numbers like your date of birth.
- Shield your PIN when entering it into a machine – fraudsters could be lurking nearby in the hopes of spotting it.
- Don’t put your credit card into machines that look like they’ve been tampered with.
- Try not to provide anyone with your credit card information over the phone or via email.
- If you hear about a data breach in the news and the company involved holds your personal data, check whether this information has been compromised.
- Regularly check your credit card and bank statements and credit report to ensure that they haven’t recorded activity that you’re unaware of.
- When disposing of an old credit card, cut up the chip and magnetic strip.
- Shred paper copies of credit card statements.
- Close any unused credit card accounts.
- Tapping your card to pay for transactions is becoming increasingly popular, around a third of all card transactions are now made without a pin. There are things you can do to protect yourself from contactless card fraud.
What to do if you’re a victim of credit card fraud
If you think you’ve been a victim of credit card fraud, or are sure that you are, let your credit card company know, so that they can investigate. You can also report it to Action Fraud. Finally, you may also want to check your Equifax Credit Report & Score to see if the fraudsters’ activities have affected it – it’s free for the first 30 days, then £7.95 a month after that. In addition to providing you with your credit information, it will also alert you when significant changes have been made to the report, or if we find your financial details have appeared on websites frequented by fraudsters.
- What is money laundering?
- What is a Ponzi scheme?
- How to report identity theft
- How to protect older people from being scammed
- Using contactless mobile payments and apps
- Safeguard your personal data when using smart home assistants
- Safeguarding your family’s personal data on smart toys
- Infographic: Avoiding festival fraud: crime statistics and festival security
- How your identity could be stolen offline
- Protect against ID theft when making mobile payments
- e-book: Staying safe online
- Infographic: Protecting your children online
- Online Fraud Terminology
- What is anonymous browsing?
- Distributed Denial of Service explained
- How secure is your email?
- Identity theft and fraud explained
- Financial fraud explained
- Best practices for avoiding identity theft
- Stay safe online: Creating a secure password
- Scam avoidance: A few ways to help stay secure
- Infographic: Are smart gadgets putting you at risk of identity theft?
- Helping your children stay safe online
- Should you share your location on social media?
- Safeguard your personal information on video game consoles
- Would you do internet banking on your smart TV?
- How fraudsters use Wi-Fi hotspots to steal data
- How to avoid email fraud
- Preventing your child’s identity from being stolen
- Keeping your personal information secure when moving home
- Protect yourself from becoming a victim of SMS phishing
- Protect against identity theft when sharing photos online
- Safeguard your identity on mobile apps
- Your social media profile and identity theft
- How fraudsters can hijack your browser
- Safeguard your identity on Facebook and other social media sites
- Going on holiday - keeping your identity safe
- How to prevent smartphone identity theft
- Shopping online – staying safe against identity theft
- How to spot and avoid romance scams
- Facial recognition and identity risk
- Dealing with phishing phone scams
- How cyber attacks happen
- Safer Internet Day – protecting children online
- 7 Signs of Identity Theft
- How to avoid contactless card fraud
- What Are Data Breaches?
- How to Spot a Phishing Email
- ID Fraud Overview
- How Financial Crimes Are Hidden in The Dark Web
- How much do you know about the Dark Web?
- Are you losing your identity?