Credit card scam is a pretty broad ranging term which encompasses theft as well as fraud which are committed by a credit or any other payment mechanism that is similar to it. The definition is pretty straightforward.
If a card is used to obtain goods without the intent to pay for it or to obtain illegal funds from another account, then that is a credit card related scam. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t something that rarely happens. In fact, it is a crime that’s quite prevalent worldwide.
However, thanks to a number of countermeasures that have been set in place since the early 1990’s, many would-be scams have been effectively avoided. Of course, one also needs to consider the fact that it isn’t just the government that has to keep an eye out. We, as individuals, must learn how to recognize a potential scam. In doing so, we can prevent losing our hard-earned money and save ourselves time as well as energy from trying to recover it.
But what can you do if you’re among those who have fallen prey to these credit card scammers? Many would think that there isn’t much one can do to recover, but that is false. To help you out and others much like you who have found themselves in the same situation, here are some of the things one must keep in mind.
How to Avoid Credit Card Scams When Purchasing Online:
These days, more and more people are buying stuff online. After all, it is a very convenient alternative, especially if you are a very busy person and don’t have much time to really go out there and shop. Now, every smart shopper would know that among the legitimate online shopping websites are scammers who would take advantage of an individual any chance they are given.
Therefore, one must remain vigilant and make sure that the website they’re buying stuff from is legitimate. Now, doing that is easier said than done. The thing is that some of these scammers can be really good and even if you’ve taken precautions, there’s still a chance that you might fall prey to them. So, what can you do? Check out the list below:
- Do a thorough research. Check the website/seller’s terms and conditions. Usually, if they are a legitimate company, there would be a very detailed list there. If there isn’t one and you feel like they are being vague about certain policies or if something seems too good to be true, then you might want to pause and think about going through with the purchase. Trust your instincts if it’s telling you that something might be really off.
- Are you exchanging emails with the people behind the business? Usually, their email address can also be a telling sign of whether they’re legitimate or not. If they can afford to run a business then they would also be able to afford an “official” email address. If they are using a free one then you might want to reconsider dealing with them. This is especially so if they claim to have been around for a while.
- Check out photos of the merchandise itself. Are those taken from the manufacturer’s website? If the pictures seem like they’ve been taken off the website or a stock image then be wary.
- If you’re buying a branded product such as in iPhone then it would be wise to check the company website first. Usually, they would have a list there of all the official establishments and resellers near or around your area. If the people you plan on buying the iPhone from aren’t listed there then it’s best to forget about the deal and get the phone from someplace else; preferably, one that’s listed.
- The price itself. One of the most common reasons as to why people purchase stuff online is because of the relatively lower price tag along with the fact that it is very convenient. However, if something is priced significantly lower than what it usually goes for in the market then you might want to think twice about making the purchase. It could be that the product is defective or that you’re not even going to receive anything. Are you willing to risk your money that way?
So there you have it, just some of the ways through which you can avoid getting scammed and losing your money. Of course, there’s more than just these, but it’s always good to have the basics in mind. With that said, shall we move on to the next topic?
How to Get Out of Debt and Avoid Scams:
There are certain situations we might find ourselves in that we might not be proud of, and the best we can do is deal. This applies to owning a certain amount of debt as well as the slow (or tedious, for some) process of recovery.
Now, during this time, one might be tempted to try the easy way out and eventually fall prey to certain scams that promise to help make your debts disappear quickly. One common scam would be someone phoning an individual, threatening them about their debt and asking that they provide their account information to help fix the problem.
It is very important that you remember one thing. You DO NOT have to give anybody your account information through a phone. If they are legitimate, you should be able to request for a letter stating their demands and what you need to do. They can choose to comply or not, but you have every right to decline them if they ever ask for any financial information over the phone.
Keep this in mind the next time you receive a call from a debt collecting agency.
Online Scams Involving Other People Using Your Account:
There’s a general rule when it comes to online accounts and that would be, DON’T TRUST STRANGERS. In some cases, this can even apply to people you have known for quite a bit. Just take for example the cases wherein certain people you meet online would ask to use your bank account to wire some money and offer you half of the amount in exchange.
It sounds like a really good deal, right? After all, your account would only serve as a medium and you earn money from it as well. Before you take this as a heaven-sent an answer to any financial woes you might be having, stop and think for a minute.
How well do you actually know these people? Remember that your banking information is sacred and if it falls into the wrong hands, you can easily lose all the money that you have saved in it. This is a very blatant scam.
Truth be told, even if it wasn’t, you should never give out your account information easily. You do not know what they could be planning on doing with it and they are still strangers.
As said earlier, keep your banking information sacred. This rule also applies when you’re looking for jobs online. Remember, not everything posted online is genuine and that includes job offerings as well. To help you avoid getting scammed, here are some red flags.
- Jobs that would ask you to use your personal account or make you open a new one.
- Jobs that would make you print/cash/mail a money order or check.
- Jobs that would ask you to use Moneygram or the Western Union.
- Jobs that would entail you to accept packages and re-ship these to other people.
- Jobs that would ask you to pay for travel fees and visas through Moneygram or the Western Union.
- Jobs that would ask you to sign up for credit reporting or any form of identity verification websites.
In most cases, the scams can be quite obvious and would only require a bit of common sense on our part to find them out. However, it still pays to learn more and do a bit of research.
Simply Googling ”fake check cashing job” would turn up a few hundred posts from the victims themselves. From their experiences, one could easily learn what to avoid.
So if you’re venturing into a new endeavor, especially if it involves working online, take the time to study and find out more about the opportunity itself. This should save you from a lot of trouble in the future.
Credit card scams happen all the time. To safeguard consumer’s interest and as a care, almost all credit card issuing companies and banks offer free fraud protection service.
These days most of the card issuers implemented computer programs that automatically detect scams and frauds before you detect so. Of course, there are few false positive incidents that may occur.
For example, in April my online Homeopathic medicine purchase was in jeopardy as Chase somehow detected that as a fraudulent transaction. I had to call the help desk to clear the charges. But, I got fraud alerts a couple of times from both American Express and Chase in the past. They did take the fraudulent charges off my account and issued me replacement cards.
But it’s always prudent to be aware of such things and take preventative measure as described in this article.