10 Common Credit Card Scams and How to Avoid Them

Credit cards are convenient, no doubt. But they come with their share of troubles. It’s not enough that they’re debt traps waiting to happen, especially if you max them out, pay just the minimum amount every month or forget even one payment. They’re also the perfect vehicles for all kinds of frauds and scams, especially because they use the concept of "buy now, pay later." Responsible usage of credit cards is more than just making sure that you stay within your limit and make your payments on time. It also includes guarding yourself against being taken for a ride and duped out of a lot of money. The most common scams going around these days are:

1. Theft of cards: Stolen and lost credit cards are the biggest contributors to credit card scams. Crooks usually make purchases for large sums of money even before the owners report the loss of the cards to the issuer. Most businesses do not ask for details to verify the legitimacy of the card unless it’s not signed. 

2. Theft of information: Unscrupulous employees at restaurants or bars can easily skim details from Pic3 your cards when you hand them over to pay for services rendered. They copy numbers, even taking down the 3 or 4-digit Card Security Code used to verify and protect online transactions. They then use these details to charge personal purchases to your card. You’re in the dark regarding this fraudulent usage of your card until your statement comes, after which you’ll have to try hard to convince your credit card issuer that you didn’t incur those charges.

3. Inadvertent possession of information: This one’s more due to your carelessness rather than cleverness or subterfuge on the thieves’ part. All they do is scour trash bins to find receipts or carbon copies that you’ve thrown away without a second thought, and your card is used to fund purchases without your knowledge.

4. Phony calls: This one works when the scammers have a few details but not all they need to perpetrate fraud with your card. You get calls from persons unknown who pretend they’re working with Visa, MasterCard or other issuers. They sound official enough and warn you of fraudulent purchases that have been made with your card. They say they’re calling to make sure you didn’t make those purchases yourself. They throw in certain details like the first few numbers of your card so you believe they’re legitimate. The catch comes when they ask you to verify the three or four-digit security number, and you oblige them without knowing any better. They’re all set to use your card details to make purchases over the phone or the Internet.

5. Account takeovers: Crooks who have information relating to one card may use them to gain access to others by taking over your identity and asking credit card companies to issue them new cards. All they have to do is provide the necessary details and ask for new cards and accompanying pin number details to be sent to a different address. This makes it very easy for them to commit fraud, since they have a supposedly legit address to go with the card details. Credit card issuers are taking your credit history and account details into consideration when they issue the cards. So the scam is discovered only when the bills go unpaid and the repercussions follow.

6. Computer-generated guesses: Fraudsters are also using technology to keep up with the times. With the details of one legitimate card, they use computers to generate cards with similar numbers. Using a trial-and-error method to guess expiry dates, they hit the jackpot after a random number of tries. This scam works when merchants do not ask for verification details like the security number.

7. Deceptive advertisements: Misleading ads could end up costing you a bundle even though you don’t own or use credit cards. Bad credit? No credit? No problem! Just call 1-900-… Promotional offers like these for "easy-to-obtain" credit cards, with promises to wipe your credit slate clean, are just humbug. Calls to these numbers offer secured credit cards, which require you to maintain a security deposit, charge application and other fees, and also charge higher interest rates. Sometimes, all you do is end up making calls that cost you money, and the promised cards never see the light of day.

8. Emails soliciting information: There’s just one word to describe emails or phone calls that supposedly Pic4 come from your bank or credit card issuer and ask you to verify personal and confidential information by following an enclosed link ? hoax. Scammers take advantage of basic human psychology by playing on people’s fears to get them to part with information. They usually say their account is in danger of being deactivated or something to that effect to set the panic bells ringing.

9. Phony cards: Unscrupulous employees can use magnetic strip readers on small electronic devices to make copies of legitimate cards. They also remember numbers and make their own cards to commit fraud.

10. Interception of cards: Thieves wait to get hold of envelopes from credit card companies to take control of your credit cards before they get to you. If the card is not part of an activation program where the real user is supposed to supply personal financial information before the card is allowed to be used, the crook can get away with purchases until the statement comes to the actual recipient, and all hell breaks loose.

The scams are not the scary part of the whole credit card affair. What’s really worrying is that most people lend themselves to fraud by carelessness or ignorance. Here’s how you can protect yourself from being cheated:

1. Don’t give out personal details to strangers or acquaintances.

2. Keep your credit cards in a separate wallet. Wallet

3. Don’t take out too many cards so you lose track of them. You may not realize one is missing until you receive a bill for purchases you haven’t made.

4. Don’t sign blank receipts.

5. Don’t be taken in by emails and phone calls that are supposedly originating from your issuer. Call back and check with customer support if you’re not sure.

6. Sign your credit card as soon as you get it.

7. Save all your receipts so you can check them against your monthly statement.

8. Destroy void receipts and carbon copies of transactions.

9. Draw a line through any blank space above the total in your receipt before you sign it. You don’t want to be billed for things you didn’t buy.

10. Report theft and loss of cards immediately.

11. Don’t lend your card to anyone.

12. Keep your cards in sight when you give them to waiters or other sales personnel to pay for services.

13. Don’t leave your cards lying around.

14. Shred all documents that contain your credit card number before you throw them in the trash can.

15.  Apply for a Photo Credit card.

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3 Responses to “10 Common Credit Card Scams and How to Avoid Them”

  1. Can each indicate me in right directions???

    I want to remove its name that boring list of the mailing. While the other exhibit of the credit card has arrived in mail today. I have no ideas as they get its name as I very careful with its information.

    I certain anyone there same problem.

    BTW: EACH part of mail junk or papers with my address or personal info’ on this I reduce.

  2. Know what is happening around you. The number of identity theft victims is growing every year. The good news is that support and resources for victims of identity theft are also on the rise.


  3. If you do get scammed, be sure to call the credit card company immediately. They will stop your credit card so that no more money gets taken out of your account. Plus, you will usually get a reimbursement.

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