Swipe Smart: Preventing Card Fraud
In today’s increasingly digital world, debit and credit cards have become a necessity for managing finances. They have transformed how everyday transactions are conducted and create quick and easy experiences. However, this convenience comes with the responsibility of ensuring the security of your card information. Fraudsters are constantly trying new tactics to exploit victims and steal their hard-earned money. Understanding what to do when your card information is compromised can help safeguard your accounts and funds.
As we get older, we learn if something sounds too good to be true, then 99.9% of the time it is. This wisdom holds especially true when it comes to protecting your card information from scammers. These individual’s prey on our desires for convenience, financial gain, and the promise of unimaginable rewards. Yes, the person claiming “You won a car! BUT we need your debit card info to redeem it” is lying to you. Furthermore, many scammers will use schemes that inflict fear, urgency, and emotional manipulation to get you to open your wallet. Trusted institutions will never call you promising life-changing rewards in exchange for private information, so don’t feel pressured to do so.
How they do it & Who they target
There are many ways fraudsters will attempt to get your information. Below are examples of the most used tactics:
- Phishing: Fake emails, texts, or messages that appear to be from a legitimate source like Gulf Coast Educators FCU. Messages often ask for personal information or request the member to call an unverified number or follow malicious links.
- Spoofing: Scammers manipulate their caller ID to make it appear as if they are calling from a legitimate organization, such as Gulf Coast Educators FCU. They then request sensitive information over the phone.
- Overpayment Scams: Scammers pose as buyers that overpaid for goods or services using a card. They then request the excess payment be refunded to them, but the initial payment never occurred.
- Lottery or Prize Scams: Victims are told they’ve won a prize or lottery, but they need to pay fees or taxes upfront using their card to claim the winnings.
- Tech Support Scams: Fraudsters impersonate technical support agents and claim that a victim’s computer or account has been compromised. They then ask for remote access or payment for supposed fixes.
Unfortunately, card scammers target a wide range of individuals, often exploiting vulnerabilities. They commonly target the elderly, students, and those facing financial difficulties. However, anyone can fall for their tricks if the proper steps aren’t taken.
To win the fight against fraud it’s important to know what tips you can use to your advantage. Below are strategies cardholders can utilize to protect themselves and loved ones:
- Stay Informed about Scam Tactics:
- Safeguard Your Personal Information:
- Use Strong, Unique Passwords:
- Monitor your accounts:
- Verify Caller Identities:
- Use Caution When Following Emails and Links:
Knowledge is power. Familiarize yourself with common scam tactics like phishing and spoofing. Understanding these methods allows you to identify potential threats.
Never share sensitive details like your card number, PIN, or social security number via email, phone, or text. Legitimate organizations won’t reach out to you requesting this information.
Create strong passwords for all online accounts. Avoid predictable choices like birthdays. Consider using a reputable password manager for added security.
Regularly look over your credit union statements and transaction histories. Detecting unfamiliar activity will allow you to report it to us immediately.
Don’t only rely on caller ID. Confirm the caller’s legitimacy by reaching out to us using official phone numbers or customer service channels.
Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown or suspicious sources. Scammers often send emails to spread malware or direct you to phishing sites.
Here at Gulf Coast Educators FCU we prioritize your accounts security. If you believe someone is trying to get your private information or have any doubts, tell us! Never be afraid to disconnect from scammers, friendly GCEFCU representatives are here to protect and ensure your account safety. If you have additional questions or concerns click here to reach out to us.
Your GCEFCU fraud team.
The opinions expressed on this page are for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author of the article and may not reflect the views of the credit union.