Are you one of the more than 90% of Canadians who use plastic instead of cash to pay for your every day items? From computers to gum, Canadians are using their credit cards to pay for just about everything, as cards become more convenient and more rewarding.
While statistics show that your credit card is safer than ever for purchases within Canada because of chip and pin, fraud on our credit cards outside of the country, on the internet and over the phone continue to skyrocket.
Credit card fraud typically happens in one of several ways. Your credit card can be used to buy something after its been lost or stolen. A crook can steal your card number and expiry date and use the data to buy stuff over the phone or Internet. Or criminals can hijack payment terminals at stores to obtain your card information and create a cloned credit card.
Here are 5 common Canadian fraud schemes you should avoid:
Vishing stands for “voice phishing”. It’s a new version of phishing e-mails, except criminals are using the phone instead of the internet.
In this scheme, you may get a call or email, from someone pretending to be the Canada Revenue Agency, a Canadian credit card company, bank or online retailer. They will either call you, leave a voicemail or ask you to call a toll-free number, or local Canadian number (which then gets redirected to an international number so it’s untraceable). At that point, you may be warned of a security alert, or threatened with immediate legal action. An automated attendent will then ask for your credit card number, SIN and possibly your password.
Here’s 3 ways to fish out a vishing scam:
1. A legitimate company calling you will know you by name. Ask the person on the other end for your name.
2. In cases of legitimate fraud, your bank may phone you, and they will ask verifying questions. But you will never be asked for your pin or password, nor will they ask you for your social insurance number – ever.
3. If you are called, ask to call them back. When you do, don’t use the number they give you. Use the number on the back of your credit card or debit card.
2. Email Fraud / Brand “Spoofing”
E-mail fraud, “phishing” or “brand spoofing” is when a criminal sends you an email that looks real, has company logos, branding, colors and links, but its actually a counterfeit email intended to fish for your personal information or install malware on your computer – which can then steal your information.
Here’s 3 ways to identify Email Fraud:
1. Your bank will no send you an email and ask for your credit card number, password or mother’s maiden name. Remember they have that information.
2. If it looks suspicious because of an unusual sense of urgency, grammatical mistakes, or any email regarding a money transfer from someone you don’t know, call your bank using a number on their main website or on the back of your card.
3. If the email does not address you personally, but instead uses language like “Dear Customer”, call your bank.
3. Malware Virus
How many of us have gotten a virus alert on our computer, and then been told we can delete it, if we purchase a suggested software. The company offering you the solution, are the same crooks that installed the virus. Do not provide your credit card information or buy the offered solution.
Here’s 3 ways to avoid becoming Malware Virus bait:
1. Get an anti-virus software, and use it
2. Don’t go onto sites that are not secure.
3. Look for the lock icon in the URL, before providing your credit card information
Credit card skimming happens when a thief “skims” the information from your card and captures your PIN to access your account and withdraw money or make purchases. It’s harder to do in Canada now because of chip technology, but, still prevalent in the United States. Credit card fraud can also happen if your card is lost or stolen and you haven’t taken steps to protect your PIN – or thieves can use your credit card number and the 3 numbers on the back of your credit card to make purchases online or over the phone.
3 ways to avoid getting skimmed:
1. If you have the choice between using your chip or swiping, always use your chip
2. Protect your pin, don’t give it to anyone.
3. Don’t write your pin on your card sleave – that’s a no brainer.