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Credit Card Fraud

By Sky, K-Staff

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The idea of opening your account and seeing a charge you didn’t authorize is scary! If that has ever happened to you, you aren’t alone. The number of credit card fraud claims increased by 44.7% between 2019 and 2020, with 3,454 of those reports taking place in New Mexico. Understanding what credit card fraud is, how it happens, and some measures you can take to prevent or catch it early are all great tools to have.

Credit card fraud is when an unauthorized individual uses your credit or debit card to make payments, buy goods, or steal cash. Criminals can take advantage of your credit in several ways.

Application Fraud
The criminal will gather all the necessary information about you to apply for a credit card in your name. Once approved, the fraudster uses that card how they wish, then you’re left with the unpaid bills.

Credit Card Skimming
This is a physical form of fraud where a criminal uses a device to copy your card information at a point of sale—usually at a checkout counter or a gas pump that isn’t frequently monitored—then uploads the information to a blank card. The devices that are used to steal this info can be illegally installed or can be handheld high-tech devices that only need to be held in close proximity of your card to gather the information.

Theft
If your card is lost or stolen and someone uses it to make any unauthorized transactions, that’s theft.

Card-Not-Present Fraud
In this version of fraud, criminals steal card numbers, expiration dates and verification codes—often the only pieces of information needed to make online purchases. Criminals usually get this information from data breaches at major retailers that allow them to get their hands on millions of card records at once.

Brute Force
This form of credit card fraud is tough to guard against. Fraudsters will use technology to randomly generate and test credit card numbers. When they hit one that’s valid, they’ll continue the attack to get the rest of the information to make the card usable so it can be sold to other criminals. The technology behind your credit card likely blocks most of these attempts, but it only takes a few successes to add up to big losses.

What You Can Do

Monitoring your accounts to detect fraud early is key to limiting losses. Set up transaction alerts for your credit card (you can do this through Online Banking with the Independence Credit Card). Report suspicious transactions to your credit card issuer right away to cancel the card or investigate further. You can report identity theft on the FTC’s dedicated site IdentityTheft.gov.

Turn on transaction alerts to stay connected with your activity and be able to spot unusual transactions faster. Set up alerts and check your accounts when you log into Online Banking. Finally, be sure to only do business with sites and businesses you trust.

Remember: You are not liable for credit card fraud with the Independence Credit Card.

Credit card fraud is common, but by staying vigilant, you can reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim.

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