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11 Ways to Protect Yourself from Credit Card Scams and Fraud

Florida Personal Insurance

Every year, millions of Americans are victims of credit card fraud. Over the past two years, customers have been getting used to the new credit cards with a chip that looks like a shiny, silver square. While shoppers may not appreciate the extra few seconds it takes to run the card, the new cards are supposed to be harder to counterfeit.

But some experts are saying that the new chip system still leaves customers vulnerable. The U.S. is currently not using a security measure that is widely used in other parts of the world. If you travel abroad, you will see that credit cards in most of Canada and Europe have an added layer of security. Credit card users in those countries must use a 4-digit pin just like debit cards in the U.S. Here in the U.S., only a signature is required for most credit card sales. Banks and credit card companies maintain that the credit card chip provides adequate security; a digital-pin is not required to be effective.

However, the U.S. Secret Service (charged with protecting the country’s currency against counterfeiters) has reportedly warned banks and credit card companies about a new scam that is targeting the chips in credit cards that have been sent through the mail. According to a report by Krebs on Security, the scheme involves criminals who intercept credit cards sent in the mail that use the chip technology. The scammers swap out the chip on the card with an old one and then forward it on to its original destination.

Once the card holder receives the new card, the perpetrators can use the stolen chip to access the victim’s account and steal their funds. Furthermore, the card does not work since it has the old chip in it. The memo that was reportedly sent to banks and other financial institutions in March 2018 did not give any details on how the mail is being stolen. It is possible that it involves postal workers or perhaps the thieves are gaining access to mailboxes. Either way, this alert shows the extent to which thieves will go to target high-value accounts.

According to Krebs, the scam is allegedly focused on cards that have been issued to corporations that have large sums of credit or funds in their accounts. Credit card chips were designed to protect against skimming devices that are able to access information through the magnetic strip on the back of the card. Security experts say that criminals have already adapted the technology to be able to read the new chips as well.

Here are 11 ways you can help protect yourself from credit card fraud.

  1. Be aware of the chip scam and look at any new cards carefully. Be vigilant and check your account daily to ensure your funds are safe.
  2. Sign any new cards immediately to make it more difficult for thieves to forge your signature.
  3. Carry your cards separately from cash so that if your wallet is stolen you will not lose your credit cards as well.
  4. When you hand your card over to pay, keep your eyes on your card to ensure it is not swiped by anything besides the POS system.
  5. Don’t sign a blank receipt. Draw a line above any space above the amount and through the tip line if you are not adding in a tip amount.
  6. Void all carbon copies and incorrect receipts.
  7. Save all receipts in a safe place.
  8. Reconcile your statements as soon as you receive them.
  9. Destroy receipts and statements using a shredder.
  10. Never put your credit card number on anything that can be viewed by the public.
  11. Do not give your credit card number over the phone unless you know the company is reputable.

Contact the experts at Lanier Upshaw to learn more about a business and personal risk management plan that is right for you.