What To Do If You Suspect Credit Card Fraud – “Expert verified” means that the article has been thoroughly evaluated for accuracy and clarity by our Financial Review Board. The review board consists of a panel of financial experts whose aim is to ensure that our content is always objective and balanced.
Written by Claire Dickey Written by Claire Dickey Arrow Right Editor, Product Claire Dickey is a product editor for CreditCards.com and her credit. Prior to joining, Claire worked as a hybrid marketing and content writer as well as a copywriter for brands in the telecommunications industry. Connect with Claire Dickey on Twitter Connect with Claire Dickey on Twitter LinkedIn Connect with Claire Dickey on LinkedIn
What To Do If You Suspect Credit Card Fraud
Edited by Liliana Hall Liliana Hall Arrow Edited Right Associate Editor Liliana is an editor and journalist with a background in feature writing on the Credit Cards team. Connect with Liliana Hall on LinkedIn LinkedIn Liliana Hall
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Reviewed by Kathleen McCarthy Reviewed by Kathleen McCarthy Arrow Right Senior Editor Kathleen’s design, travel and business stories have appeared in dozens of publications, including The Washington Post, Town & Country, Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Fodor’s Travels, Departures and Author. . Connect with Kathleen McCarthy on Twitter Connect with Kathleen McCarthy on Twitter LinkedIn Our review board About Kathleen McCarthy on LinkedIn
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While the introduction of chip-and-PIN technology has made it more difficult for individuals to use stolen credit cards for fraudulent transactions in person, hackers are endlessly creative when it comes to theft. The reality is, there are many ways thieves can get their hands on your credit card account numbers, which they can easily use to make purchases or do other havoc using your name.
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A stolen credit card or account number can also be one of the first signs of identity theft, so keep an eye out for credit card fraud and take steps to minimize the damage if you spot one.
With your physical credit card no longer a common target, you’re probably wondering how hackers and thieves can get their hands on your credit card number. There are several ways to do this, including:
Phishing emails may look legitimate, but these fraudulent messages are designed with a nefarious purpose. Most phishing emails try to get you to click a button or link that takes you to a familiar-looking fraudulent site to enter your account information.
Another common phishing tactic is to give you an immediate (and completely fake) reason to call your credit card company or a company like the Social Security office. They will list a fraudulent phone number and, when you call, ask you to “verify your identity” with your personal information and your card details.
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Downloading or opening the wrong file from an email or website can add spyware to your computer, designed to export your card details and other information that hackers can use to steal your money or your identity. For example, keylogging software like skimmers can compromise your credit card while it’s in your wallet. But if you accidentally click on a link attached to a phishing email, this form of spyware can end up on your computer or device. Be careful what you download and prevent spyware by purchasing your own antivirus software.
Public Internet networks, like those you find in hotels and airports, can easily put you at risk if you open up your account information or sensitive documents and someone is monitoring the network. If you often need to access the Internet away from home, be sure to install a VPN on your computer.
Large organizations, including banks and retail businesses, can be susceptible to targeted data breaches that put your credit card information and other personal details at risk. Some of the biggest data breaches of the past decade, including the Capital One data breach of 2019, led to the theft of millions of users’ information.
Finally, don’t forget that some thieves still try to steal your credit card data the old-fashioned way. Your trash can be a treasure when it comes to finding credit card and account numbers or figuring out which companies you use for your savings or investment accounts.
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Although less common these days, ATM skimming still happens. This type of fraud occurs when ATMs and other payment terminals are rigged by recording devices that collect your card information when you insert or swipe your card.
If your credit card number has been stolen, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) outlines the steps you should take immediately:
The good news about credit card theft is that most credit cards offer zero fraud liability protection, meaning you’re not on the hook for a cent on fraudulent purchases. However, because of the protections included in the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), you are liable for a maximum of $50.
This is a big departure from your potential liability for fraudulent purchases made with a debit card, which can include all the money in your bank account if the thief is able to use your debit account number and you don’t know about the fraud. Within 60 days of your bank statement being sent to you.
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When it comes to protecting your credit card information and identity, there are some steps you can take right away. Most of them are easy to implement, including:
According to the FBI, it’s important to avoid entering your credit card numbers and personal information on unsecured websites. “Sometimes a small lock symbol is a high level symbol
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