CREDIT CARD fraud is one of the most common types of identity theft – here are all the ways it can happen.
Around 127 million Americans have been victims of credit or debit card fraud at least once, Security.org reported.
Credit card fraud is one of the most common types of identity theft – here are all the ways it can happen.Credit: Getty
And that figure is only expected to grow as more people rely on online shopping for their needs.
In fact, credit card fraud increased by 44 percent between 2019 and 2020 according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Credit card information is considered precious data, and if scammers don’t use it for themselves, they might sell it on the black market.
There are several ways that these criminals can target your credit card information.
Phishing describes when a bad actor sends a fraudulent email or SMS in order to get individuals to disclose sensitive information, such as their passwords or credit card numbers.
The criminal may purport themselves as a legitimate entity like a bank or firm and then encourage you to click on a malicious link.
In 2021, 83 percent of American organizations said they experienced phishing attacks.
Bad actors may use malware that can record your keystrokes to get your information.
This can be done via malicious online advertisements or compromised websites.
Info-snatching malware may also be hidden inside a legitimate-looking app.
Skimming describes the action of stealing credentials and payment information from website visitors.
As you input your card information, the threat actor skims your card details.
Criminals may get ahold of your credit card information via data leaks and breaches.
This is a popular way for hackers to get access to data because it’s considered to be more efficient and cost-effective.
In 2021, there was a record amount of data breaches in the US.
Free Wi-Fi is a common way for bad actors to snatch your credit card information.
If you use public Wi-Fi at airports, hotels, cafes or elsewhere, a hacker may be able to spy on your details as you enter them.
How to protect yourself
There are several ways to protect yourself from being a victim of credit card fraud.
First, be wary of suspicious emails or SMS messages.
“Most scams are based around a sense of urgency: the idea that if you don’t act now to do something like change your password or confirm your credit card number, something bad will happen,” Hari Ravichandran, founder, and CEO of Aura, an identity theft and fraud protection company.
“If you’re feeling pressured to act in a situation, ask yourself why, and then re-evaluate the legitimacy of the action you’re being asked to take.”
Experts also recommend that you use Apple Pay or Android Pay to make payments as both of those apps utilize technology that prevents merchants from storing your payment information.
By enabling touch ID, face ID, or password protection, you can make certain that only you can make a purchase.
Furthermore, you can try a ‘masked credit card’ when purchasing items online.
Virtual credit cards are new tools that hide your true account numbers.
They provide you with a single-use code and work similarly to your actual credit cards.
Read More On The Sun
“Consumers can use their virtual card online to prevent fraud, keep their real card protected from breaches and scammers, and easily set limits on their card to control unauthorized usage,” Ravichandran said.
Masked credit cards are offered by most major credit card companies and banks, including Capital One, Citibank, and Amex.