Four Important Facts About Credit Card Fraud
Credit cards are meant to provide consumers with a convenient method of making purchases while at the same time building a positive financial profile. Unfortunately, cardholders are subject to attack from unscrupulous entities whose design is to steal personal information and gain access to an existing line of credit. Here are some facts about credit card fraud that all consumers need to know.
Credit Card Numbers Can Be Stolen
Most people believe their account information is protected by the use of a personal identification number. However, many online transactions do not require the input of any sort of password or security code. If a card number is obtained by an identity thief, fraudulent charges can quickly ruin the account holder’s credit standing. Most often, this type of thievery is accomplished by the sending of phony emails requesting account information or by uploading malware to a website that has virtually no security software protecting it.
Counterfeit Cards Are On The Rise
If personal information is stolen – such as a bank account password and social security number – an identify thief can open new credit card accounts without the knowledge of the victim. The person whose identity has been used will not even know that he or she is the actual account holder because billing information will be sent to the imposter’s address. It is a good practice to change and update password information regularly. Consumers should also perform a complete system scan with security software at least once every two weeks to ensure that malware has not been downloaded onto a computer or smartphone. Spyware can latch onto and pass along keystroke history.
Card Readers Aren’t Always Legitimate
Some identity thieves replace a legitimate card reader with one of their own. This is a common problem at gas stations and ATMs. The false reader passes the information to a nearby laptop monitored by the identity thief.
Card Thieves Are Rarely Caught
Even if the fraudulent charges are dismissed by the credit card company, the victim’s information can still be used to open new accounts or to make purchases from merchants that do not have access to account alert software. Therefore, protecting all card information to prevent an initial identity attack is vital.
Every year, hundreds of millions of fraudulent credit card charges are reported. In most cases, the charges are removed by the financial institution, but the victim can still suffer from illegitimate future charges as well as experience a lowering of his/her credit score. Protecting against identity theft is the most important aspect of managing any sort of financial account, especially credit cards.