The biggest credit card scams right now – and how to protect yourself

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  • Credit card scams are becoming more and more common and if you’re not careful, you could fall victim to them.
  • You may receive a phishing email, text or phone call, or fall prey to a fake charity pitch.
  • Never give out your card details if you suspect fraud and trust your instincts if anything seems off
  • Read Insider’s guide to the best credit card deals available today.

At least once a week, my mom calls me with another credit card scam she’s heard about. As she shares anecdotes about what happened to a friend of hers or someone she saw on the news, I start to worry that something like this could happen to me.

The more I started researching credit card scams, the more I realized how easy it is to fall victim to them at any time. If you’re not careful, in a rush, or don’t give in to a hunch that a phone call, email, or link you click isn’t what it seems, you could transmit your credit card information. , and more details, to persons likely to commit fraud.

Read more: Credit card fraud is on the rise, but you can protect yourself with 5 easy steps

Wondering what the most common credit card scams are today and how you can protect yourself against one? Here’s what you need to know.

Common credit card scams

1. The phishing scam

Phishing is one of the most common credit card scams that has been around for quite some time. Although this type of scam can occur in different ways, it usually occurs when a fraudulent company (or individual) contacts a victim by phone, email or text message, in an attempt to extract their credit card , his bank, his account or his personal account. details.

Why is phishing so common and popular? Often these scammers will either contact you with an email address that looks virtually identical to the one used by your credit card or call you and mimic the voice of a credit card representative on the phone. They will ask you for personal information or your credit card details.

Read more: Identity theft is a major problem, but these 5 credit card protection programs can help you stay safe

This is a scam that happens to me quite often (via email, text and phone calls). Whenever I receive a communication that appears to be from my credit card company, I check the email address or tell them I will call them back and use the number provided to me in my credit card account credit.

2. Interest rate reduction scam

At least three times a day, I answer my phone to the sound of a robocall. One of the most common types of these calls not only looks tempting, but can also make a person crave more details.

It’s called the interest rate cut scam and it’s when an unknown number calls you with a recorded message sharing the good news that you are eligible to negotiate your interest rates on your credit card balances to reduce them a bit – except the message isn’t true or from your credit card company.

Read more: Most people never think of trying an incredibly simple way to reduce credit card debt

Instead, these bogus companies claim to have relationships with credit card companies and can work on your behalf to lower your interest rate and lower your payments by thousands of dollars. Once they get you interested, they’ll ask for your credit card and personal information.

If you want to lower your credit card interest rate, contact your credit card company directly. They are the ones who can give you the real answer to the possibility of this happening. If someone else makes that promise, hang up.

3. The overload scam

Learning that you were overcharged for an item you paid for with your credit card can often be enough to get someone to stay on a phone call or click a link in an email to find out more. However, the overcharge scam is a credit card scheme that has exploded during the pandemic as more and more people have turned to online shopping.

When you receive this call or email, the scammer extracts your credit card and personal information, telling you that this is what you need to get your money back. However, none of this is true.

Read more: My kid charged my credit card for $2,500 in online video game purchases — here’s what happened

If you receive a message like this, hang up or delete the email. Next, take a look at your credit card statement for anything irregular or unusual. If you notice a repeat or overcharge, contact your credit card company directly.

4. The skim scam

As more businesses go cashless and more consumers shift to paying for goods and services with a credit or debit card, the practice of skimming has remained. relevant as a popular credit card scam.

People will place a skimmer, which is a small electronic device often placed on gas pumps, ATMs, and other places, that reads your card’s stripe information when you insert it. Once the skimmer captures this information, the person who set up the device has access to your credit card details to use or sell to someone else.

Read more: Here’s what to do if your credit card is lost or stolen, whether you’re at home or traveling abroad

Although it can be difficult to spot these devices, check for any tampering with credit card readers before inserting your card or start using a mobile wallet (which allows you to connect your credit card and then use your phone to tap and pay for items) instead.

5. Charitable Giving Scam

A very difficult scam to recognize is the charity donation scam. This is when someone will call you, pretend to belong to a charity, tell you why that charity needs your donation, and ask you for payment, that is when they steal your credit card information.

Read more: Someone Charged Hundreds of Dollars From My Wife’s Credit Card, But We Weren’t Stuck Because We Didn’t Pay By Debit Card

If a charity is calling you and you are interested in donating, search online for the charity’s official website and donate there instead.

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