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Credit card phishing – What it means, how to prevent it

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What does credit card phishing means and how consumers can prevent being a victim of the scam?

credit card phishing
Image credit: Hloom via Flickr

Credit card phishing has recently become a familiar phrase in the banking business, but for those who haven’t heard it, it doesn’t involve a lazy afternoon on the dock. It is a form of fraud: Phishing is when thieves pretend to represent legitimate companies, contact consumers and extract their credit card information.

Then the phishers go shopping. For the victims, it’s not phunny.

How credit card phishing works

Phishing starts when a consumer receives an official-looking e-mail from a business. The e-mail looks in every respect like one from a trusted source, such as a bank or e-Bay. The fraudulent e-mail will come with all of the right wording and company logos and will typically profess to be doing a security check, requiring the customer to verify private information.

Consumers who fall for the phishers’ scheme click on the ad or call the number and then volunteer their vital banking information: Social Security and account numbers. Then the trouble starts.

Protecting yourself from phishing

Experts say this is the key: Do not give out personal information when you have not initiated the conversation.

Unless you initiated the call, DON’T give out:
•    Your date of birth.
•    Your NRIC or FIN number.
•    Your mother’s maiden name.
•    The three-digit security code (Or CVV number) on the back of your card.

Con artists’ phone tricks

Do not give your information out even if someone calls and says they are with your credit card company and are investigating potential identity theft. Ask for the caller’s phone number, and offer to call back. A scammer is unlikely to give you a number. Even if he or she does, don’t call back; just report it to authorities. If you call and surrender your account information, kiss your money goodbye: Thieves can use your credit card to shop online in complete anonymity.

Singapore’s scam alert tells us of one such story:

“My friend A contacted me asking for my phone number via messenger. They mentioned it is for shopee 5th yr special campaign. then they send you a code via this number +13246584447 which they asked you to forward to them. after that they tell you that you won some cash by showing you a campaign by shopee. then they will ask you for credit card number , expiration date and 3 digit cVV in order to transfer the money to your account. I started to QUESTIONING my friend A as I found the whole process really weird.

“I asked What is the promotion about? how come cannot find from shopee website? at the same time, another friend B started to message me via messenger and trying to tell me that my friend a promotion is real. when i asked about how come it is not made known, friend A then claimed that she knew the Shopee manager and is a special campaign they created for her. they will continue to ask for your credit information and also they say about my online ibanking account. you won’t be able to call them via messenger as they will not pick up. they will tell you that they are not allowed to call during the transfer. I finally decided to ring my actual friend A to verify and got to know that her account was been hacked.

“LUCKILY FOR ME, I VERIFIED WITH SHOPEE AND ALSO MY FRIEND A TO KNOW THAT THIS IS A SCAM.”

‘Computers don’t steal, people steal’

Theft of information over the Internet has been tempered by online security measures, and consumers can generally feel safe when shopping on websites that display a lock emblem and an “https” heading in the Internet browser. This indicates that an online retailer offers a highly secure website employing the latest in Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology, which fully encrypts personal and credit card account data. Brewer says that online shoppers should also look for sites that have seals from companies such as VeriSign to prove that the transaction will be secure.

Mr Paul Ho, chief officer at iCompareLoan, said: “Shopping over the Internet, as long as you’re dealing with a reputable retailer, is safe, especially when it’s a site you’ve sought out rather than one in which you’ve responded to a solicitation.”

Mr Ho added: “I tell people that it’s safer to shop online than in person because computers don’t steal things; people steal things. When you buy something online, it’s an automated process. In a store, you’re handing your card to somebody. Most of the online credit card phishing cases involve people compromising their personal information because they didn’t know it was unsafe to give it out.”

What is important to prevent credit card phishing is, check your credit card statements frequently and carefully. You should also check your credit report at least once a year to make sure you are aware of all accounts in your name, and that any time an inquiry to your credit report was made, you know who made it.

Written by Ravi Chandran

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