The credit card industry is no stranger to scams. As long as credit has existed, nefarious types have explored ways to exploit it. That’s just the way of things. The onset of digital commerce and technology is just the next frontier for criminals looking to cash in on the unwary. Every year, their scams get more and more sophisticated.
While cybercrime can cause headaches, you don’t have to be a victim. A little awareness and preparation can go a long way.
Let’s talk about the scams that are trending in 2022.
This is honestly the oldest trick in the book… just modified to suit the times. Where criminals used to pretend to be someone else at the institutional level or to perpetrate cash or check scams, now they use the internet to focus on person-to-person data mining by pretending to be someone connected with the person in question via email, text, or telephone call.
The pandemic drove people online to shop for everyday items for which they might have otherwise gone to a brick-and-mortar store. Since then, identity theft scams have gained more steam than ever. Email scams, in particular, can mislead people into clicking the wrong portals or engaging in conversations with people who are not the person they think they’re speaking to.
A good rule of thumb here is to be suspicious of anyone who contacts you for sales, with account closure information, emergency emails, or anything else that is out of the ordinary. Pay particular attention to the recipient line and address of each email. If there are many attached emails and/or the sender has a generic name, ‘Amazon123’ for example, DO NOT open it.
Another side effect of the pandemic was the rise of payment scams. With more people paying bills and opting for subscriptions online, fraudsters took a cue.
These scams can look like regular subscription billing or can even be a notice via email that your subscription is being ‘canceled’ when you never had a subscription with that company or the subscription you pay for runs through a different company altogether.
There are many ways this scam works, so pay attention to your billing statements. If you notice any irregularities, contact your bank or provider immediately.
Phishing scams are another “oldie but goodie” for fraudsters.
There are scores of ways to be targeted by these scams, including email, text, phone, fake websites, and popups, just to name a few. Cybercriminals will lure you into clicking the wrong thing to gain access to your computer or personal data, then use your credentials to log into banking apps. They may also seek to earn your trust by whichever method they can, then ask for personal information like social security numbers or credit card credentials.
Senior citizens are often targeted via telephone with fake social security administration or automotive warranty scams.
How to Protect Yourself From Scams
You should know that, if you discover that you’ve been the victim of fraud, you are protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act. Your liability may be limited, depending on how long it takes you to discover and report the fraud. You might even be offered “zero liability” protection by your bank.
Additionally, there are many things you can do to protect yourself in the interim. Here are some tips to help you avoid credit card scams:
- Get credit monitoring
- Watch your bank statements
- Set up alerts on all accounts
- Don’t access your banking info or other critical details via public WIFI
- Set up multi-factor authentication.
- Screen all phone calls and never… ever…. Give your information to someone you can’t verify immediately.
What to Do if You Have Been Scammed
If you’ve been the victim of any of these or other credit card scams, call your bank or provider immediately to cancel that card. Any further transactions will be halted and flagged, making the card useless to the fraudster. After this, your bank will launch an investigation into the matter to reimburse you for any lost funds.
Simply canceling the card might not end the matter. So, make sure you change all passwords associated with your online accounts. Also, double-check your bank statements and keep tabs on bank activity going forward, as another scam may occur in your name later.