How Often Do Credit Card Frauds Get Caught?
What is credit card fraud?
Credit card fraud is a type of identity theft where someone uses another person’s credit card or information without permission. This can happen when a scammer steals, copies or hacks the card or its details and makes purchases or transactions in the cardholder’s name. The scammer does not need to physically have the card to commit fraud. For example, they can use the card number and security code to shop online or over the phone.
Credit card fraud is different from credit card disputes, where a cardholder disagrees with how a company has used their card but has still given permission. For instance, a cardholder may dispute a charge if they did not receive the goods or services they paid for, or if they were charged more than they agreed to. In these cases, the cardholder can contact the company or their card issuer to request a refund or a chargeback.
However, if the cardholder has authorized a purchase, it may not be considered credit card fraud. For example, if a cardholder lends their card to a friend or family member and they use it to buy something without telling them, that is not fraud unless the cardholder reports it as such. Similarly, if a cardholder signs up for a free trial or a subscription service and forgets to cancel it before they are charged, that is not fraud unless they can prove that they were misled or deceived by the company.
Credit card fraud is a serious crime that can cause financial losses and damage to the cardholder’s credit score. Therefore, it is important to protect one’s credit card information and monitor one’s account activity regularly. If one suspects or notices any signs of credit card fraud, one should report it to their card issuer and the authorities as soon as possible.
How does Credit Card fraud work?
Credit card fraud involves unauthorized use of your information for purchases or other transactions. Fraudsters can obtain your information in various ways, such as:
- Lost or stolen credit cards: If you lose your card or someone steals it, they can use it to make purchases until you report it missing and cancel it.
- Skimming credit cards at gas station pumps: Some gas stations have devices attached to their pumps that can read and copy your card information when you swipe it. The fraudsters can then use the copied information to create fake cards or shop online.
- Hacking your computer: If your computer has malware or viruses, hackers can access your personal and financial information stored on it. They can also intercept your online transactions and steal your card details.
- Fake calls about prizes or wire transfers: Some scammers may call you pretending to be from a reputable company or organization and offer you a prize or a money transfer. They may ask you to provide your card information to claim the offer or pay a fee, but they will use it for fraudulent purposes instead.
- Phishing attempts through fake emails: Some scammers may send you emails that look like they are from your bank, card issuer or other trusted entities and ask you to verify your account or update your information. They may direct you to a fake website that looks legitimate and ask you to enter your card details, which they will then capture and use.
- Observing your information at checkout: Some fraudsters may watch you closely when you use your card at a store or an ATM and try to see your card number, security code or PIN. They may also use a hidden camera or a skimmer to record your information.
- Stealing your mail: Some fraudsters may steal your mail that contains your card statements, bills or other documents that have your card information. They may use this information to make purchases or open new accounts in your name.
How Often Do Credit Card Frauds Get Caught?
Credit card fraud is a common and costly problem that affects millions of people every year. However, it is not easy to determine how often credit card frauds are caught and prosecuted. This is because credit card fraud is a complex and diverse crime that can involve multiple actors, methods and jurisdictions. Moreover, credit card fraud cases are often not reported or publicized by the authorities or the media.
Sometimes, a credit card fraud may be caught by a vigilant clerk or investigator who notices something suspicious or unusual about a transaction or a customer. For example, a clerk may notice that the name on the card does not match the name on the ID, or that the card has been tampered with or altered. An investigator may notice that the same card has been used in different locations or for unusual purchases. In these cases, the clerk or the investigator may alert the card issuer or the police and stop the transaction or arrest the suspect.
However, it is often difficult to know if there has been an arrest for credit card fraud, as the authorities may not disclose this information to protect the privacy of the victims or the ongoing investigation. Furthermore, some credit card frauds may involve cross-border or online transactions that make it harder to track and catch the perpetrators. Some fraudsters may also use sophisticated techniques to evade detection and prosecution, such as encryption, anonymization or identity theft.
Fortunately, victims of credit card fraud are protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), which limits their liability for unauthorized charges to $50. However, most credit card users are not held responsible for any charges if they report fraudulent activity to their card issuer as soon as they notice it. Additionally, major card networks such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover have “zero liability” policies that protect their customers from unauthorized charges, regardless of when they report them.
Protect from Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud is a common and costly problem that can affect anyone. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of becoming a victim and protect your financial health. Here are some tips on how to prevent credit card fraud:
- Enable notifications and security features on your credit card: Most credit cards offer features that can help you detect and prevent fraud, such as instant purchase notifications, fraud alerts, card lock or freeze, and $0 liability protection. You can enable these features through your online account or mobile app and receive alerts via text, email or phone if there is any suspicious activity on your account. You can also lock or freeze your card if you lose it or suspect fraud, and you won’t be held responsible for any unauthorized charges.
- Keep your account information secure and only give it out after confirming the caller’s identity: Never share your card number, security code, PIN or other personal information with anyone who contacts you unsolicited, whether by phone, email or mail. Fraudsters may pretend to be from your bank, card issuer or other trusted entities and ask you to verify your account or update your information. If you receive such a call or message, hang up or delete it and contact the entity directly using a verified number or website. Also, avoid writing down your card information or storing it on your computer or phone.
- Secure your physical cards by not lending them to anyone and shredding old cards, statements and receipts: Keep your cards in a safe place and don’t let anyone else use them without your permission. If you lose your card or it gets stolen, report it to your card issuer immediately and cancel it. Also, destroy any old cards, statements or receipts that have your card information on them by shredding them or cutting them up. This can prevent fraudsters from finding and using your information.
- Be cautious and watch out for suspicious behavior during credit card transactions: When you use your card at a store or an ATM, be aware of your surroundings and look for any signs of tampering or skimming devices on the terminal or the machine. Cover the keypad when you enter your PIN and don’t let anyone distract you or see your information. If anything seems odd or suspicious, don’t use the terminal or the machine and report it to the staff or the authorities.
- Regularly review your statements and credit reports to ensure accuracy and question any unfamiliar charges: Check your credit card statements every month and look for any charges that you don’t recognize or authorize. If you find any errors or discrepancies, contact your card issuer as soon as possible and dispute the charges. You can also check your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) at least once a year for free at www.annualcreditreport.com and look for any accounts or inquiries that you don’t recognize. If you find any signs of identity theft, report it to the credit bureaus and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- Exercise caution when making online purchases and be wary of phishing scams: When you shop online, make sure you use a secure website that has a padlock icon in the address bar and starts with https://. Don’t click on any links or attachments in emails that claim to be from your bank, card issuer or other trusted entities and ask you to verify your account or update your information. These could be phishing scams that try to trick you into giving away your information. Instead, type the entity’s website address directly into your browser or call them using a verified number.