We’ve all gotten calls like this…your phone rings from an unknown number. Someone then tries to convince you they’re from Visa and that your credit card needs to be verified because of potential fraud on your account. Or they may say your credit card must be secured to get a truly fantastic interest rate. By this point you should be on high-alert that you’re potentially being targeted by scammers. Here are a few ways to help you avoid these credit card scams:
Don’t Take Unsolicited Calls
Any unsolicited phone call, text, email, or even Facebook message could be part of a potential scam, so it’s important to always be on guard. These messages may seem genuine, even though they’re not. Phone scammers could use a phony caller ID; email scammers could use phony sender names and real-looking graphics of the companies they’re mimicking. They may do any of the following, which are all red flags:
- They may ask you for personal information (i.e., account number, security code, or social security number).
- They may promise something that doesn’t make sense.
- They may use the “hard sell” to try to get you to disclose information.
The best advice to avoid a scam is simply don’t engage in a conversation unless you initiate it. Hang up and call back at a trusted phone number, such as the customer service number listed on the back of your credit card. If you’re online, don’t click on any links or enter any of your information in questionable emails. When you’re in the market for a new credit card, for example, go directly to the company’s website.
Trusts Your Instincts
Many credit card scam artists will rope in unsuspecting victims with amazing offers, such as no interest for five years. Beware of such over-the-moon promises, which are invariably linked to those super-suspicious “enter all of your data here” forms. As the old saying goes – “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”
You can protect yourself from scammers by simply asking yourself, “Will the company profit in any way from doing this?” If it’s a scam, the answer will be no. Companies rarely do anything for you if it doesn’t also help them. Anytime your gut tells you something just doesn’t feel right, it very likely isn’t.
Even if an interest rate offer seems modest and legitimate, it always pays to double-check with the company in question. Scammers do what they do because it works, even if it’s only once every 1,000 tries. A simple call or email to customer service should do the trick so you don’t fall victim to these scams.
If you think you may have given out personal information without realizing the potential for fraud, it’s important to be vigilant – there are still steps you can take to protect yourself. You should immediately call your credit card companies and have them issue you new cards. You can also check your credit report to make sure no new accounts have been opened in your name without your consent.