While certain types of crimes are down during this crisis, card scamming has increased. Perhaps it’s because it is a crime which can be perpetrated at home using a computer. Nevertheless, while you are likely to be distracted due to the crisis, now more than ever, please be vigilant to avoid being a victim of card scamming.
1. Run Your Free Annual Credit Report
Consumers can request a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Unlike in the past, you can request a report for free every week until April 2021.
2. Be Cautious about Emails, Phone Calls, and Text Messages
This is one of the most popular techniques thieves use when attempting card scamming. You may receive an email, phone call, or text message that appears to be from your bank or credit card provider. Stop yourself before you: answer the phone, open the email, or click on a text message link, unless you are absolutely certain it is your financial institution.
If you do answer the phone, please, please hang up. Call them back using the institution’s customer service or fraud number that you know is valid. This one of the worst scams out there! The caller will do or say anything to keep on the line – that is until they get you to part with your money.
The best advice is not to respond to any of these. Make the call yourself to your financial institute to verify if there is a problem you need to address.
3. Keep an Eye on Your Accounts Between Statements
During this crisis (and perhaps before), you may have stopped using cash completely. Ever more the reason to monitor your bank account linked to your debit card. Also, confirm that all transactions being charged to your credit cards are accurate.
If you automatically pay your credit card balances without reviewing your statements, now is good time to start reviewing them. You may even find some automatic charges for monthly services you no longer are using and wish to cancel.
The same applies towards your bank statements. Most people don’t bother to reconcile their checking account. Begin or continue to review all transactions for accuracy and maybe learn how to reconcile your checking account. Occasionally, banks do make mistakes.
4. Use a Credit Card not a Debit Card
It’s not a good idea to add to a credit card that has an outstanding balance. The flip side is that using a credit card will provide you with better protection against fraud than a debit card.
Should there be a breach of your credit card, according to Federal Law, you are responsible for only $50. In most cases, you will not be responsible for any amount.
Using a debit card does not offer you the same protection against fraudulent charges. As the debit card holder, it’s up to you to notify your financial institution regarding any suspicious activity. The longer it takes you to report the fraud, the more more money you can potentially lose.
It’s always a smart idea to monitor your credit report, watch for unusual transactions on your credit cards, debit card, and bank activity. Due to the crisis, be more watchful. Card scamming has increased because bad actors are taking advantage of your distraction due to the coronavirus crisis.