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It's sale season! Here are ways you can protect yourself from credit card fraud

By CAMILLE SANTIAGO Published Jul 07, 2021 1:08 pm

It's sale season once again—there's mid-season sales, 7.7 sales, and whatnot—but before you give in to the temptation of online shopping, are you protected from the real mang-bubudol a.k.a. credit card fraudsters?

There are many kinds of schemes in the country that you read from your timelines. Some individuals have received bogus packages, while some riders are pranked into ordering food and delivering it to unknown addresses. There are also incidents where scammers take advantage of the Cash on Delivery (COD) or "Pabili" service, and there are those who have encountered fake bank tellers asking for information.

According to the Credit Card Association of the Philippines (CCAP), in 2020 alone, "there was a recorded increase in fraud cases of almost 30%." And since most of us have relied on e-commerce sites and delivery services since the pandemic started, fraudsters are taking advantage of it and finding ways to trick you to give them your credit card information.

But all these can be prevented if you stay vigilant. Below are the different types of credit card fraud that you should watch out for and how you can avoid them:

Phishing and Vishing

You've probably experienced either of the two at some point. In the Philippines, Phishing and Vishing are two of the most common types of credit card frauds. According to CCAP, "Phishing comes in the form of emails, fake job search sites, banner ads, fake browser toolbars, text messages, and chat room messages." Vishing, on the other hand, is when you receive calls from scammers who are pretending to be bank representatives, asking for your sensitive data.

"With Phishing and Vishing, scammers lure their victims into giving their sensitive data by offering fake and too-good-to-be-true promotions or even by claiming that the account has been compromised and will be blocked," CCAP added.

Our tip: When in doubt, don't click. And if the offer is too good to be true, then it's probably fake. CCAP reminds the public to "carefully examine the emails and text messages that you receive and do not click on the links right away." If you come across one, call your bank right away to verify. And finally, do not give your sensitive information or One Time Passwords (OTP) to anyone.

Lost or Stolen Cards

If you happen to lose your cards, the first thing you need to do is report your lost or stolen card to the bank so they can block it immediately to prevent someone from making unauthorized transactions.

CCAP also advises cardholders to "treat their cards like cash." "Don’t place your wallet in areas where it can be easily seen and stolen. It is also helpful to have a different pouch for cards and cash so that you do not lose everything if anything happens to your wallet," the organization said. 

Card Replacement Scam

Just like Vishing, the card replacement scam happens when you receive a call or message about your card saying it's due for a replacement. The scammer may also lure you into a promo or an upgrade just so you can hand them your card.

If you ever come across such, be wary before entertaining these messages. You can always ignore or report to the bank. "Remember, banks will never ask you to surrender your card even if it is up for replacement. Instead, they will ask you to destroy it or to go to their branch to give you the replacement card," CCAP said.

Skimming

Skimming happens when the automated teller machine (ATM) or a store's credit card terminal has been tampered. "Fraudsters installed a device on the machine to skim your card’s magnetic stripe which contains all your sensitive information," explained CCAP.

While banks have switched the cards' microchips to EMV technology—which makes it harder for skimming devices to gather information—it's still best to be vigilant at all times.

For one, make sure all transactions happen in your presence. That way, you can also prevent the teller from copying all your card details. And two, CCAP says to check ATMs "for skimming devices by shaking the card scanners before inserting your card."

CCAP's tips on how you can protect yourself from fraudsters and scammers:

  1. One way is to avoid using public Wi-Fi when conducting credit card transactions. It’s difficult to determine if these free Wi-Fi connections have been hacked by fraudsters who are waiting for people to expose their sensitive information. 
  2. Another is to ensure that your issuer has your updated contact information so they can reach you for any suspicious and unusual account activities. Remember that issuers will call you to verify transactions, but will not ask for your sensitive information.
  3. When you encounter suspicious activities or unexpected declined transactions, immediately call your bank to check and advise them. You can also use your bank’s mobile app to track your activities. If it has the lock/unlock feature, choose to lock the card when not in use for increased safety. Always be on the lookout as well for notifications from your issuers.
  4. Overall, the key to avoiding scams is to make sure that your account details are always secured and inaccessible to the public. Never share your personal and sensitive information, like your CVV or one-time-pin (OTP), with anyone! Fraudsters will never be able to take over your account if they do not have these important information.