4 Ways That Thieves Get Their Hands on Your Credit Card Info

Credit card fraud is rampant these days, and it’s difficult to find anyone who hasn’t been a victim.  Usually it’s an inconvenience, but not a financial hardship, since a credit card can be cancelled with a simple phone call to the card issuer.  However, there are cases where the scam becomes much more complex, involving identity theft and issues that turn up on your credit report.

As a consumer, you must protect yourself and to do so, you have to understand some of the ways that credit card thieves get their hands on your card info.

Mail Theft

This is pretty straight forward as thieves steal your mail and grab those credit card offers that most people receive regularly.  They sign up for the card, have it sent directly to them, and off they go.  Make sure that your mailbox is secure and that it locks.  This will thwart most mail theft attempts.

Card Skimmers

Devices can be installed on a gas pump that copy your card information when you pay at the pump.  Check the credit card slot carefully before you insert your card and look for a skimmer.  Usually, if one is in place, it can be removed by hand.  So your visual and manual inspection can often detect it.

Employees and Vendors

When you visit a restaurant, department store, or any other business where you use your credit card as a form of payment, it only takes seconds for an employee to snap a photo of your card info.  While it may be impossible to prevent this in all situations, the best scenario is when you keep the card in your possession at all times and use their card terminal yourself, rather than physically handing your card to one of the employees.

Online and Phone Theft

Thieves will use scam emails, fraudulent links, and fake phone messages to get at your personal info.  This includes your credit card information and many other things such as your Social Security number, banking information, date of birth, etc…  All of this info can be used to steal your identity.  Beware of random phone calls from people saying they are from the IRS, the SSA, or other government agencies.  Also refrain from clicking email links unless you are 100% certain that they are safe.  When in doubt, do not click!

Check Your Credit Regularly

Too often, this type of theft can result in damage to your credit report and credit scores.  Check your credit regularly to make sure you don’t see errors or unauthorized activities.  Read our previous article on How Often Should You Check Your Credit Report for additional information.  If you need assistance or have questions, feel free to contact our office.