Scams like identity theft and credit card fraud can be an extremely traumatic experience for those who go through it. The increasing use of credit and debit cards have increased the risk of people being subjected to frauds. However, ever since the discovery of online payment channels like Paypal financial fraud trends have changed. Add to this the fact that online buying and e-commerce are increasingly preferred by consumers. All such factors combine to set ideal conditions for fraudsters to get away with credit card fraud.
Any individual possessing a credit or debit card and/or prefers to shop online must take some precautions to protect themselves from frauds and scams. The amount of card frauds is expected to rise up to nearly 32 billion dollars by 2020. A person who has never experienced any kind of fraud in their life may get concerned by reading this. While there is no reason for them to be panicked, they should take care to exercise some precautions while making a card or online payment. Most banks and retailers already have some measures in place to detect and prevent fraud. The introduction of EMV chip cards have made card payments relatively secure and electronic identity verification systems have further allowed retailers to detect a fraudster from a legitimate customer.
Nevertheless, the risk of card fraud still remains and victims of fraud need to know some damage control measures to mitigate the damage that has been caused. It is also important for the victims to know that the culprit does not get away with credit card fraud. Some simple steps for a fraud victim to take if they have discovered fraudulent activity on their card include;
Notify Your Credit Card Company Instantly
The immediate damage control measure for you to take is to notify your bank or credit card company immediately. This has to be done for a number of reasons. The first is to prevent the fraudster from gaining any further financial benefits from your card details. Another is to ensure that you are not implicated or held responsible for not notifying the bank earlier. However, major card companies like Visa or MasterCard have zero liability policies against unauthorised usage. This means that the cardholder (the victim) cannot be held responsible for unauthorised charges. In any case, you have to notify your bank or the credit card company as soon as you notice something suspicious, so they can block the card to avoid any further damage.
Take an Inventory of Your Accounts
After you are done informing your bank, take an inventory of all your bank and credit card accounts. Most people tend to have more than one bank account and thus credit cards. If a fraudster has a hold of one of your credit card or its details, s/he may have gained access to others as well. Therefore, check all your bank account activity online. Another caution to take is to change all your passwords for your online accounts and change PIN codes for your cards in case they have been compromised as well.
Inform the Credit Bureaus and Relevant Authorities
Sometimes it takes days for identity fraud to take shape and for you to see a pattern of fraudulent activity across your accounts. Other times it can happen all at once. In either case, it is important that you file a formal police report if you see a constant pattern of fraudulent activity across your accounts. In the case of identity theft, the perpetrator may end up opening fake accounts in your name. You should, therefore, notify different credit bureaus operating in your country so they can put a credit freeze in your name. A credit freeze prevents criminals or fraudsters from obtaining credit in your name or to open any accounts thereof.
Keep a Check on Your Statements
After the initial unauthorised activity, you may want to keep a close watch on all your credit card statements and bank accounts. If the scammer has more than just your credit card information, fraudulent charges may keep on appearing through your account and you may have to block the entire account or have to change its login credentials. If you don’t already have them, enable text alerts on your phone by requesting your card issuer. That way if any transaction takes place through your card the bank can notify you instantly. Getting constant alerts can be annoying every time you make a purchase but are important if you have been a victim of credit card fraud.
Monitor Your Online Shopping Accounts
You should also check all the websites you frequent for online shopping and your social media accounts as well. A lot of online stores allow frequent shoppers to save their details on the website for future use. Fraudsters often target online stores to make purchases in your name.