5 Ways Your Credit Card Information Gets Stolen
Remember how infuriating it was to find that a classmate of yours had stolen and used your idea for a project back in school, after eavesdropping while you shared the idea with another friend of yours?
Credit card information theft is far more infuriating than that – and needless to say, potentially far more damaging.
A great way to shield yourself against this threat? Knowing how it happens – and from there, deriving how you can stop it. Here, we single out 5 ways in which your credit card information can be stolen, and how you can prevent each from happening.
1. Unattended cards
You’ve done your shopping at your local supermarket, and you’re about to pay for your groceries with your credit card. Just then, you realise that you may have enough cash – and proceed to leave the returned card on the counter while counting your cash.
After all, no one’s going to steal the card from right in front of you, are they?
Big mistake, because anyone could easily sneak a peek at your card in those few moments and take down all the details needed to make a transaction with it, including your precious CVV number. Yes, even the cashier before you with the beautiful smile should not be trusted entirely.
As such, always remember to keep your card safely tucked away whenever it isn’t being used. Take it out only when you intend to use it, and while you’re using it, be sure to keep an eye on the people and things around you to ensure that no one seems too interested in your transactions.
2. Saving your login credentials online
From local platforms like Lazada and Shopee, to global marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, Malaysians are constantly exposed to online shopping options and avenues.
However, due to the ease at which these platforms can be used, some of us often forget to take precautions to ensure that our details are not misused by others. For instance, we may opt to save our credit card information on these sites for future transactions, in the name of convenience.
But what happens if the said website gets hacked, and your credit card details are left open for the picking? Or in the event of a data breach, akin to what happened recently with the contact details of millions of Malaysians, how would you be able to protect your credit card details?
While it may be tedious, choosing not to save your credit card details on websites and manually entering them each time you make an online transaction instead could save you a whole lot of trouble and keep your bank account away from a very dry future.
3. Unsolicited bank calls
This particular method falls under the category of phishing. In case you were wondering, it’s pronounced just like ‘fishing’, and no, it isn’t a spelling mistake either.
The process is simple enough: you receive a phone call for someone claiming to be a bank officer from a reputable bank – even Bank Negara, at times – who requests that you furnish him or her with your credit card information, so that he or she may verify that you aren’t in any sort of financial trouble.
If you are not affiliated with the said bank, the officer may then fabricate a story about your identity being used to commit fraud, before persisting in his or her pursuit of your credit card details – as practiced in the Maybank phishing scams that were particularly rampant earlier this year.
They best way to protect yourself against this scam? Never give your credit card details to anyone who requests for it through the phone. Banks do not call their customers to ask for their private information, especially credit card information, so do hang up promptly if you receive such a call.
4. Social media
If you think the dangers of social media are limited to the invasion of privacy or excessive displays of vanity, think again.
Some thieves have found ways to scam people and steal credit card or bank account details through social media platforms. These usually revolve around befriending someone on a social media platform, being engaged by that person in a conversation, and finally falling for a concocted story from the said person; a story that can only reach its happy ending with the aid of your credit card details.
This might sound like a rather ridiculous concept for one to be victimised by – but you may be surprised to know that an average of 7 Malaysians fall for these scams or those of a similar nature everyday.
Our advice? A slight twist of a traditional saying that goes, “Don’t accept friend requests or messages from strangers.” Be sure to communicate extensively on social media sites only with people you trust or know personally – and when making new friends, don’t share private details with them so easily.
5. Stranger things (that don't belong with your screen)
Fret not, watching the hit series of the same name on Netflix won’t result in your credit card details being stolen.
Inserting your cards into strange devices, however, may spell disaster. In the past, there have been cases and instances of foreign card readers being attached to ATMs and card swiping devices in retail outlets. These foreign devices are able to not only read the information of your card, but also store them and keep them for future usage without your explicit permission.
As such, when you slot your cards into or swipe them along any kind of reader, do be sure to check whether there are any peculiar attachments to these devices. If you find something suspicious, voice your concerns immediately and do not simply brush them aside.
Speaking up could save you more trouble than you can imagine!
On that note, you’re now armed with five more ways to protect yourself and your finances from possible harm. This may have been a fairly meaty read, but what’s a price of a few minutes if it means having a safer future?
Additionally, if you have reason to believe that someone is attempting to steal your credit card information or find yourself victimised by credit card theft, do not hesitate to contact your bank or submit a report to Bank Negara immediately!