Have you received an email, phone call, or text message from someone you never heard of but looks authentic? Does it ask for your personal information or credit card data?
Yes? Think twice. You might want to control yourself from clicking on it if you do not want to be a phishing scam victim.
Many financial transactions now take place online, making credit card details prone to scammers and cybercriminals.To avoid significant financial loss and identity theft, let’s explore the different ways to detect and prevent yourself from falling prey to these phishing attacks.
Credit card phishing means tricking individuals to divulge their sensitive account data, such as credit card numbers, expiration dates, card verification value codes, and login credentials. Scammers usually perform this cybercrime through multiple channels, such as email, phone calls, text messages, and fake websites that look legitimate.
Cybercriminals use such personal and financial information from unsuspecting individuals to commit unauthorized purchases. They also execute identity theft to make money transfers from the victims’ accounts to their personal accounts look authentic.
According to Eric Mills, Owner of Lightning Card Collection, “These scams are becoming more sophisticated and difficult to track. Therefore, we should remain vigilant. We should take appropriate measures to protect ourselves from credit card phishing.”
As Clifford pointed out, credit card phishing scams can be challenging to detect. Cybercriminals constantly enhance their tactics to make this fraud more genuine. Thus, many individuals still fall on their tracks.
In fact, the FBI’s recent Internet Crime Report shows that there are more than 300,000 victims of phishing in 2023. The losses from this cyber incident amounted to over $44 million.
Despite that, there are warning signs you can take note of to help you detect potential phishing scams. Here are the five common ways to track them.
The sender’s or caller’s identity is the first and most important red flag you should watch out for. Be cautious whenever you receive an email, text message, or phone call from unknown individuals or institutions.
Note that cybercriminals often disguise themselves as reputable companies or financial institutions. They aim to trick unsuspected individuals into revealing their credit card information by sending legit-looking links included in emails or text messages.
If you do not reread it for the second or third time and just click them immediately, your financial account details might already fall on their hands.
Be wary of text messages, phone calls, or emails from financial institutions or individuals that ask you to provide your credit card details.
Remember, legitimate companies never ask for your credit card numbers, passwords, and login credentials out of nowhere. They only ask for such information when you first approach them and request support for your financial troubles.
Phishing scammers use threatening language to establish a sense of urgency, pushing their victims to click on the message right away.
For instance, they may claim that your credit card account has been compromised. They tell you to immediately take action to resolve it by clicking a link that leads you to suspicious websites. This is where they get and steal your data.
Cyber attackers use phishing kits to make fake websites appear legitimate. These kits deliver convincing fake pages that look like real but collect passwords, credit card numbers, and other confidential information entered by the victims. Signs such as misspellings or extra characters in the URL could indicate a phishing scam.
Phishing emails and text messages contain spelling and grammatical errors. Note that prominent and licensed companies implement professional communication strategies. Therefore, they will not send messages with such errors. If you see any mistakes, it is indeed a sign of a phishing scam.
Individuals conducting financial transactions online are vulnerable to credit card phishing scams. If they do not be cautious enough, these cyberattacks result in financial loss, identity theft, and other serious consequences.
But you can perform simple steps to avoid phishing scams and secure your sensitive data. In addition to using cybersecurity tools, execute the following ways to keep yourself or your business away from scammers.
Learn to value your data privacy and confidentiality. Practice yourself not to share personal information unless for emergency or financial support purposes.
Always beware of unsolicited requests for personal data related to your credit card. Never click links or download attachments from unknown sources to avoid stolen credentials.
As much as possible, use a virtual private network (VPN) when accessing your credit card account online. VPN encrypts and routes your transaction via a secure server. You can configure your online banking to make it working with dedicated static IP address, provided by your VPN service provider.
Oftentimes, financial institutions send emails to promote their current offerings. They also call you or send text messages if you have problems with your account or follow up your requests. But all of these messages have authentic display names and account labels.
So if you receive an unexpected email or call from anonymous senders or callers, do not give out your personal information immediately. Instead of responding to them directly, ignore it and check their legitimacy.
Upon receiving suspicious emails or calls asking for your credit card information, verify the request’s authenticity first.
Check their websites for contact details. You usually find such data on the “contact page” where you can type and send your concerns on an available chatbox or the live chat button.
You can also directly ask them about the matter through their official customer service hotline or social media account.
Moreover, you can visit online business directory such as Dun & Bradstreet and government websites such as the Department of Commerce to validate the license of financial institutions contacting you.
Ensure your software or mobile apps receive regular system updates to protect yourself from credit card phishing scams. Frequently install updates for your operating systems, web browsers, and security software. Such updates consist of security patches to detect and mitigate vulnerabilities planted by cybercriminals in your systems.
Reduce the risk of credit card phishing scams by using strong passwords and two-factor authentication.
A strong password is unique and complex. It contains a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. You can decide to make it long or short depending on your memorization skill. But making it short and a mix of those characters is enough to protect you.
Meanwhile, two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security. This measure requires a second form of verification to log in and access your credit card account online. This verification method includes a unique code sent through text messages, phone calls, or emails. It also uses fingerprints for smartphones with a biometrics feature.
Nowadays, many financial transactions take place digitally. From buying goods to checking and paying them out, your credit card data is exposed to multiple cyber threats.
But once you know the warning signs such as the ones discussed here, you can easily spot if someone is trying to fool you in broad daylight. Understanding the different preventative ways further helps you avoid credit card phishing scams.