Even before the pandemic hit the Philippines, credit card fraud has been rampant in the country. Just last year, there was a recorded increase in fraud cases of almost 30 percent. With the rise of online transactions, fraudsters have found it easy to trick many cardholders into sharing their personal information and using it to steal money through unauthorized transactions.
Due to the restrictions brought by the pandemic, the e-commerce industry has grown immensely. From food and groceries to furniture and appliances, almost everything can now be bought online. With just a few taps, purchases can be made without leaving the house. It may be convenient, but these kinds of transactions pose potential risks. One wrong click can cause the leak of sensitive information without the customer knowing it.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are different types of credit card fraud that you should watch out for and how you can avoid them:
Phishing & Vishing
Phishing and Vishing are some of the most common types of credit card fraud in the country. Phishing comes in the form of emails, fake job search sites, banner ads, fake browser toolbars, text messages, and chat room messages. Vishing, which is another type of Phishing, happens in the form of phone calls from scammers pretending to be bank representatives. With Phishing and Vishing, scammers lure their victims into giving their sensitive data by offering fake and too-good-to-be-true promotions or even by claiming that the account has been compromised and will be blocked.
What you can do: Carefully examine the emails and text messages that you receive and do not click on the links right away. For suspicious emails or text messages, contact your bank immediately to verify if the message you received is valid. At the same time, listen carefully to the phone calls you get as scammers can also claim to be bank representatives. When in doubt, it’s better to ignore and not entertain them. Never give your sensitive information to anyone, especially when visiting unverified websites.
Lost or Stolen Cards
You are on your way home when you realize that your wallet is missing and it could have been stolen or it could have fallen somewhere. What’s worse is it contains your debit cards, credit cards, IDs, and cash! Whoever gets it will have access to your credit cards and can use them to make unauthorized transactions under your name. You can only hope that someone with a good heart finds it and returns it to you, but that may not always be the case.
What you can do: If this happens to you, contact your bank right away and report your lost or stolen cards so the bank can block your accounts immediately. Moreover, cardholders should treat their cards like cash. Don’t place your wallet in areas where it can be easily seen and stolen. It is also helpful to have a different pouch for cards and cash so that you do not lose everything if anything happens to your wallet.
Card Replacement Scam
It’s just another normal day when you suddenly receive a call or message asking you to surrender your credit card because it is due for a replacement and an upgrade. You’re probably wondering why. The last time you checked your credit card was working fine. Since it sounds enticing that you’re getting an upgrade, you willingly submit and give up your card. But lo and behold, it’s a scam. Now you don’t have your card and the bill is stacking up because a scammer is using it to make expensive purchases.
What you can do: Always be careful with calls or messages you receive concerning your credit card or bank account. Remember, banks will never ask you to surrender your card even if it is up for replacement. Instead, they will ask you to destroy it or to go to their branch to give you the replacement card.
You are out of cash and you need to go to an automated teller machine (ATM). You find the nearest one, insert your card, and withdraw cash. Little did you know, the machine was rigged. Fraudsters installed a device on the machine to skim your card’s magnetic stripe which contains all your sensitive information. Or maybe, you are shopping for a nice bag at the mall and you use your credit card to pay for it. However, the cashier’s credit card terminal has already been tampered, giving fraudsters access to your account.
What you can do: Thankfully, banks have upgraded their credit cards’ microchips and switched to EMV technology, making it harder for skimming devices to collect information from your card. However, cardholders should remain vigilant. Always make sure that all of your credit card transactions happen in your presence. Keep on checking ATMs for skimming devices by shaking the card scanners before inserting your card.
Other ways you can protect yourself from fraudsters and scammers:
One way is to avoid using public WIFI when conducting credit card transactions. It’s difficult to determine if these free WIFI connections have been hacked by fraudsters who are waiting for people to expose their sensitive information.
Another is to ensure that your issuer has your updated contact information so they can reach you for any suspicious and unusual account activities. Remember that issuers will call you to verify transactions, but will not ask for your sensitive information.
When you encounter suspicious activities or unexpected declined transactions, immediately call your bank to check and advise them. You can also use your bank’s mobile app to track your activities. If it has the lock/unlock feature, choose to lock the card when not in use for increased safety. Always be on the lookout as well for notifications from your issuers.
Overall, the very key to avoiding scams is to make sure that your account details are always secured and inaccessible to the public. Never share your personal and sensitive information, like your CVV or one-time-pin (OTP), with anyone! Fraudsters will never be able to take over your account if they do not have these important information.
Today, it is so easy to ‘add to cart’ and ‘check out’, thinking na-budol na naman ako for giving into the temptations of online shopping. But the real and more dangerous budol are the credit card fraudsters who are taking advantage of the online space to trick you into giving away your hard-earned money.
As cardholders, you should take control of your credit card transactions and be extra vigilant before engaging in any online transaction as it is one of the prevalent ways that fraudsters can gain access to your sensitive information. Join the Credit Card Association of the Philippines’ (CCAP) #FightBudolMovement and protect your sensitive information, ward off fraudsters and take charge of your finances!
Follow CCAP on their Facebook page to learn more about CCAP’s campaign.