Banking sector in the UAE has transformed rapidly and the customers are offered innovative ways to make seamless and convenient transactions without having to rely on cash. There is a sizeable population in the UAE which uses credit cards on a daily basis.
There are thousands of credit card users who are falling prey to credit card fraud every year. The scamsters usually start with withdrawing a small negligible amount to ensure that the card details are accurate and then carry on to withdrawing bigger amounts.
How can a credit card fraud happen?
The credit card fraud starts off practically unnoticeable. You will slowly get credit card statements that will reflect purchases in places you have never visited or items that you haven’t purchased, etc. You also start to notice that you are charged on your credit card from distant gas stations, online purchases, etc.
Most scamsters use high-tech methods to hack data and replicate the credit card. But most often, they use less impressive methods to steal your credit card information as well. Following are the ways through which your credit card information might have been stolen:
- Dumpster: If you happen to discard your credit card monthly statements and receipt, the thieves can get your credit card account details, your address, name, and credit card number. Most credit cards do not require you to put in the PIN and the thieves just use the credit card details to make online transactions.
- Pick pocketing: A thief could just pick your pocket and go on a shopping spree until the card is reported as stolen. The items purchased are later sold at pawn shops or at online auctions.
- Shoulder surfing: The thief might just look at your card details and memorise your card number and watch you key in the PIN number. Therefore, it is important that you ensure that no one is looking when you are keying in your PIN number.
- Skimming: This is usually done at grocery stores or restaurants, where your card is taken for payment and later on the waiter or the cashier will run it through a magnetic reader. The magnetic reader will store your information and that information can be used to manufacture and make a copy of the card. These cards are later on sold to criminal rings.
- Telephone scams: The scamsters will usually pose as a bank executive asking for card details stating that the card has been stolen and they need information to start an investigation. The scamsters prefer to pose as a charity institution asking for donations and ask you to donate using your credit card over the phone.
- Cameras on cell phone: This is the easiest method of stealing, the thief will just take a photo of the front and back of the card and use the information to make online purchases, etc.
- Phishing: This is a common form of scam using emails. The scamsters send a mail that implicates to be from the bank and asking you to sign in and confirm your personal details to safeguard you from a security breach.
- Card tumbling: There are computer programmes that run algorithms and generate a correct sequence of numbers that will then be validated.
Steps to take to prevent credit card fraud
Though you cannot avoid your card from being stolen or be too careful with card tumbling, etc., you can take preventive measures. You can take the following measures to prevent credit card fraud:
- Do not keep your account details or passwords on phone.
- Do not give out details to any executive over the phone. Never entertain anyone who is calling you on behalf of the bank and asking for you card details.
- Credit card companies have all the information they need and they will never call you or send you any mails asking for details of the card. Report the number and block the email ID through which you get such mails from.
- If you have to make online purchases, ensure that the site is secure.
- You must always sign on the back of your credit card, if you fear that it can be forged, mention the photo ID number. If you leave the signature box empty, the thief will just write your name and use the card.
- Before discarding your credit card statements, make sure you shred them. You can also consider splitting the shredded piece of paper and discarding it in different trash cans so that thieves cannot piece it back together.
- Save all your receipts so you can cross check with the monthly statement. If you find any discrepancy, you must report it to your credit card provider.
- Receipts should also be discarded carefully as the details of your card and the expiration date can be retrieved.
- When you are at a restaurant or at a grocery store, do not let the waiter or the cashier take your credit card out of your sight. Ask for a portable POS machine.
- Try not to carry your cards in your wallet. Use a different card holder to carry your cards, this way you can minimise your loss.
- Don’t sign a blank receipt.
- Ask your credit card provider to have multiple step security checks for when you are making an online payment. You can ask for the password to be sent to your mobile phone. Without the password the transaction will be declined.
- Do not disclose your card details to anyone.
- You can opt for fraud protection or insure your card. Fraud insurance is available in the UAE. You will get cover against fraudulent credit card transaction.
- Register yourself for SMS alert for every transaction. You can also back it up with email alerts. This will help you spot any suspect activity on your card.
- You can opt for prepaid card which can be topped up online. The card can be used for shopping and for making online purchases in the UAE and overseas. The card will be protected as you will be only spending the balance that has been preloaded. You can preload the card only when required this way you need not worry about fraud.
What to do when a fraud has happened?
When your card has been fraudulently used, you need to report it to the provider immediately. You must then do the following:
- Change your online passwords.
- You must contact the credit bureau and keep them informed of the fraud this way it will not affect your credit score.
- You must file a police report.
- You will have to frequently check your credit card and bank statement to ensure that the thieves are still not continuing to steal more money.
- Go check all your previous statements to check if the fraud had incurred before in case you missed to take notice of it.
- If you have given a standing instruction for the any monthly payments, update the record so that you don’t miss paying the monthly bills.
Tips or Suggestions to avoid credit card fraud
Following are the tips and suggestion to avoid credit card fraud:
- Protect your personal information, do not reveal any information to anyone claiming to be from the bank or from your credit card company.
- Shred your receipts and monthly statements.
- Use a secured mailbox to protect your important mails.
- Have the bills sent to you electronically.
- Pay your bills electronically.
- Use secure sites to make payments.
- Create strong passwords.
- Don’t save your passwords on your phone.
- Check your credit score regularly.
- Cross check your monthly statements with the receipts.
- Take fraud insurance.
- Have a two-step authentication to make payments online.
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