Written By: Grayson Hitt
Credit card scams have been apparent in recent years with the continuing development of technology. The credit card industry since its existence has been a viable target for thieves and hackers. More and more people are shopping online to find deals. This increase in online shopping is mostly due to the inconvenience of going in store to shop t, and the convenience of shopping virtually with the click of a button. Online shopping increases the likelihood that a scam could occur to anyone if they aren’t careful. Articles like “6 Credit Card Scams and How to Avoid Them” by Chauncey Crail, “Biggest credit card scams to look out for in 2022” by Holly D. Johnson, and “6 Credit Card Scams and How to Avoid Them” by Erin Hurd all describe the various credit card scams that can affect you. There are a wide number of ways that you can get scammed in the year 2022, and there are also ways to combat this problem.
The first credit card scam that is used to fraudulently get a victims money is the charity scam. Scammers tend to target people’s willingness to help. The scammers email or call after tragedies occur to hopefully make the targeted victims feel bad enough to help. One article by Chauncy Crail states that “Scammers have been at this trick for a long time and have developed strategies about what impersonations and circumstances might bring about the best chance of a target agreeing to donate on the spot” (Crail, 2022). Understanding what the scammers are trying to do is an important first step in the process of staying clear of credit card scams. Scammers will try to use pathos to try to get you to empathize with them into donating to a cause that could potentially be a real thing. The article also states that scammers “may use current events like real natural disasters. . .” to urge people to reach out and help (Crail, 2022). There are ways to avoid this form of charity scams. One way would be to write down the information that was given to you and tell them that you are interested enough to possibly call back. This allows you time to research the company on your own with the information you were given, and if “the charity is legitimate and you want to help, donate directly through its website” (Hurd, 2022). This technique is a good way to figure out if the charity solicitation is fraudulent or legitimate. Scammers will not be able to fraudulently receive money from you if you don’t give them your credit card information.
Another form of a credit card scam that is prevalent today would be overcharge scams, which are also sent via calls, texts, or email. Scammers contact you claiming that your credit card has an overcharge from something you’ve previously purchased. Author Chauncey Crail states that it is “likely for the scam to mimic a service that’s common – a popular streaming platform, like Netflix or Spotify – that random targets are more likely to be customers of” (Crail, 2022). This is a tactic that needs to be avoided. They will claim the overcharge to get you to fill in credit card information. Random callers or texters should make you skeptical, especially if they’ve never called before. Targets should understand that “No matter the method of contact, any claim that the matter must be settled immediately in order to be refunded or that this is the ‘last chance’ to get refunded should be a red flag” (Crail, 2022). Like any scam, the overcharge scam can be avoided. One way to avoid overcharge scams is to hang-up or don’t answer texts and immediately “Check your credit card statement. If something there seems out of whack, contact your credit card issuer yourself by calling the number on the back of your card” (Hurd, 2022). These overcharge scams are intriguing because they will use your name in the message or call. This makes it more convincing to pay the overcharges back, but do not act impulsively or you may be scammed.
Interest Rate Reduction Scams
Interest rate reduction scams are another form of credit card scams that people often fall victim to. These types of scams are where a fake company says they have a connection to your credit card company. Scammers will say they can collaborate with the company to significantly lower interest rates. “No matter what a company claims, nobody can do anything for your interest rate that you cannot do for yourself” (Johnson, 2022). This means that people who are reaching out via texts, calls, or email don’t have the authority to change any of your rates, hey just want you to provide your credit card information. Avoiding these scams is important because someone else having access to your information leaves you susceptible to fraudulent activity. Chauncey Crail infers that “In reality, even a legitimate third-party service has no real advantage over the cardholder in negotiating rates with a credit card issuer” (Crail, 2022). Based on this, do not engage in phone calls or text messages that claim to lower interest rates. Ignoring all calls without names or that say unknown number is a way to avoid interest rate scams.
The last main type of credit card scams that should be avoided are phishing scams. Phishing scams is where a scammer will send a link or message via texts or social media to get you to click on the link or text. Sometimes they will pose as something legit, but they are secretly fraudulent. This is one of the most dangerous types of scams in 2022 because the main form of contact is social media. A lot of people use social media and contact in this way is very simple. Crail writes that “A common phishing scam might claim that account details for a credit card need to be updated, that an account has been compromised and must be recovered, or that a security check is necessary for some other reason” (Crail, 2022). Having these come up on your feed or messages without being aware of them can cause you to stumble. Crail also adds that the “target may be asked to relay information like this over the phone, or an email may direct them to an imposter website that mimics an existing business’s site and allows the scammer to collect information” (Crail, 2022). These schemes target the older generation that might not be as tech savvy. There are ways to combat this type of scheme. One would be to “never provide answers to security questions on an unsolicited call” (Crail, 2022). Another way to avoid phishing scams would be to not answer calls or texts that do not seem legit.
It is important to understand ways in which victims can protect themselves from credit card scams. AnnualCreditReport.com gives three ways in which someone can check their credit report. Checking your credit report occasionally, is a “good way to stop fraud early on” (Johnson, 2022). Along with checking your credit report, freezing your credit with each of the credit bureaus is also beneficial because no one can open an account. Making it a routine to check bank account statements and setting up bank account alerts is also a good way to prevent fraudsters from abusing an account. Finding fraudulent activity on a statement early is a necessity so that they don’t get out of hand if they do have access to the credit card. Credit card scams often target users on public internet access points. Johnson adds that “unsecure internet connections will put someone at risk of having personal information stolen” (Johnson, 2022). Multi-factor authentication adds an extra step when logging into important accounts and will help prevent information from being stolen. One of the main ways to avoid credit card scams is to avoid phone solicitations. These were very prevalent in 2022 because of the excessive use of our phones. Do not answer unknown callers. Johnson includes that “Legitimate governmental agencies do not solicit information over the phone unless you have initiated contact with them first” (Johnson, 2022). When people have been scammed, they need to report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The timeline in which fraud needs to be reported is 60 days.
Finally, it is important to understand the magnitude of credit card scams that can put anyone in a lot of debt, and happen without warning. It is important to know the signs of when a victim is being targeted by a scammer and the recommended responses of ignoring all forms of unknown, unfamiliar, or shady activity. Canceling your credit card might not be a viable option if a large-scale credit card scam has occurred. Develop barriers to combat these perpetrators and know the safe alternative responses if scams were to happen to you. Credit card scams can potentially do a lot of damage, and it is important to be aware of the ways they can target you.
Crail, C. (2022). 6 Credit Card Scams And How to Avoid Them. Forbes Advisor. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/credit-cards/credit-card-scams-and-how-to-avoid-them/
Hurd, E. (2022). 6 Credit Card Scams and How to Avoid Them. Nerdwallet. https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/credit-cards/credit-card-scams-to-know#overcharge
Johnson, H. (2022). Biggest credit card scams to look out for in 2022. Bankrate. https://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/biggest-credit-card-scams/