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Credit card fraud: How to spot and report it

Credit card fraud: How to spot and report it

A card skimmer is a device that’s installed on card readers and can collect credit card numbers. Thieves can then recover and use the stolen information to make fraudulent purchases. In some cases, a skimmer is in the form of a tiny camera placed on a card reader.

People are often not aware of how much sensitive and personal information they share every day. For example, when purchasing goods online, the buyer’s name, email address, home address, and credit card information are stored and shared with third parties to track them and their future purchases.

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Banking services provided by Community Federal Savings Bank, Member FDIC. By far, most of the card theft I am aware of, including the scenarios you describe, are things completely out of our control. The less obvious, slightly higher-tech case is hardware that’s actually installed on card readers. Our experts have been helping you master your money for over four decades. We continually strive to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to succeed throughout life’s financial journey. At 18 he ran away and saw the world with a backpack and a credit card, discovering that the true value of any point or mile is the experience it facilitates. He remains most at home on a tractor, but has learned that opportunity is where he finds it and discomfort is more interesting than complacency.

Resolving identity theft is a time-consuming process, taking weeks or months. The more you provide to authorities, the better they can resolve your case. In Europe and Canada, most cards are equipped with an EMV chip which requires a 4 to 6 digit PIN to be entered into the merchant’s terminal before payment will be authorized. In some European countries, buyers using a card without a chip may be asked for photo ID at the point of sale.

Watch for and report credit card fraud

Skimmers are often placed on top of the actual card reader making it stick out at an odd angle or cover arrows in a panel. Compare the card reader to others at a neighboring ATM or gas pump and look out for any differences.

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Unexpected repeat billing

A Bluetooth enabled gas pump skimmer lets thieves retrieve stolen card and PIN data wirelessly while they gas up. While not federally mandated in the United States PCI DSS is mandated by the Payment Card Industry Security Standard Council, which is composed of major credit card brands and maintains this as an industry standard. With that, comes a greater opportunity for cybercriminals to exploit the vulnerabilities of our modern digital world. Criminals are becoming quite savvy when it comes to stealing credit card information.

This limits your liability and lets your bank take proactive approaches to protect your account in the future. These liability amounts are typically much higher than they would be with credit cards. You can check your credit card account benefits to find out if that’s the case with yours. If someone uses your debit card and makes unauthorized charges, you could be on the hook for those amounts depending on your state, your bank and when you act. According to the EFTA, how much you can be held liable for under law depends on how long it takes you to notify your bank or other financial institution about the issue. The first stop to reporting identity theft is the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has a designated identity theft website that offers step-by-step instructions to help victims reach mediation.

But, at a bare minimum, you should review the charges on your billing statement every month before paying your balance. If your debit or credit card is stolen, you should take immediate action to limit your liability. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your bank and other statements regularly so you can see if any unauthorized transactions are occurring and report them. Stay vigilant when using a credit card to pay for gas or when withdrawing cash at an ATM. If any part of a gas pump’s card reader looks suspicious, pay for gas inside with the cashier and let them know there may be a skimmer installed at the pump.

Watch out for the warning signs of credit card fraud

If you’d like a step-by-step tutorial on how to use a specific service or feature, check out our Digital Explorer page. The card associations (Visa, MasterCard, et. al) very often know which merchant was compromised before even the banks or the merchant itself does. Rather, in response to a breach, the card associations will send each affected bank a list of card numbers that were compromised. Also, be vigilant about protecting your card use online by only filling out card information on websites you trust. You can look for the lock icon in your browser’s address bar to be sure you’re buying from a secure site. Shred any piece of paper that has your credit card number on it, and don’t write down your card number anywhere that thieves might be able to access it. Our goal is to give you the best advice to help you make smart personal finance decisions.

Additionally, balance transfer cards can actually help you pay down debt instead of racking it up. If your debit card is stolen, how much are you liable for and what should you do about it? Before using an ATM or gas pump, check for alignment issues between the card reader and the panel underneath it.



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