These days, many people have a credit card decorating their wallet – after all they provide a quick and simply way to pay for high-value products. The right bit of plastic can make spending and budgeting easier, but it’s important to be aware of criminal activity. Credit card fraud is prevalent in the UK, so here are several scams to be aware of.
Phone, internet and mail order
Thieves do not need your actual credit card to commit a crime. All they require is the details of a genuine card, so be sure to shred all receipts and keep your documents away from prying eyes. If confidential information falls into the wrong hands it can be used to make significant purchases online, over the phone or via mail order and this can leave you in debt. Card not present fraud can happen without warning, so always contact your bank if you notice any unusual activity.
Cash machine (ATM) fraud
With so many passwords and PIN numbers to remember, it can be tempting to write them down and keep them in your wallet. This might be convenient, but it could lead to cash machine fraud if your purse is stolen. Criminals are looking for an easy job and will think they’re in luck if they find your personal details located next to your card – so don’t give them the privilege. What’s more, some fraudsters fit skimming devices to ATM machines. These can copy the details from you card’s magnetic stripe, so find out more about fraud prevention and don’t withdraw cash if there is any sign of foul play.
If your card details are stolen, they can be transferred onto a counterfeit via a duplicate magnetic stripe. As Chip and PIN has made it hard for fake cards to be used in the UK, they are often taken abroad where such a security system is not in place. Luckily, this type of fraud has dropped significantly over the last three years, as most banking groups keep an eye on suspicious activity. If you apply for a credit card with MBNA, for instance, they will monitor your account 24 hours a day and alert you if they notice anything out of the norm.
Mail not received fraud
Thieves don’t miss a trick and sometimes steal cards before they have even arrived at your door. Those living in flats or blocks with communal postal areas are more at risk, so it’s best have important documents sent directly to your door. Recorded delivery is ideal, or you can have things posted to your place of work. If you don’t receive important information within a reasonable amount of time, contact the sender and see what has happened – you might need to cancel the credit card immediately.
Credit cards are a great way to shop, but just be careful with your personal details.