Credit Card Tips

Have you ever received an email from a prince or an attorney asking you to help them transfer millions of dollars to your bank account? It's a scam. Credit card scams have evolved beyond people pretending to be Nigerian princes in emails. Sometimes, they pose as customer service representatives offering lower credit card bills in hopes of extracting your financial information.

As customers get smarter regarding the way they handle their cards, these frauds have to be more cunning.

1. A mischievous waiter of credit card scams

A friend once told me about that one night when he and his buddies went on a drinking binge at a bar. The braggart would wave his credit card in the air and say that he would shoulder the group’s bill. The waitress who took the card then came back to return it with the receipt folded over.

Boastful friend over here apparently was not too drunk to check the card before returning it to his wallet, so he noticed that the wrong card was given. He then complained about the error to the girl, who quickly apologized and went to the cashier to resolve the issue. It turned out that the cashier hid my friend’s card under the cash register and gave out a bogus card. Credit card scam busted.

2. (Someone pretending to be) a front desk clerk at your hotel

Picture this:  You're sleeping in your room, then someone from your hotel's front desk calls on the phone in your room. He would ask you about the last three or four digits of your credit card, explaining that the clerk before his shift did not complete some registration details. Tired as you are, you'd then give those numbers. However, he said that the numbers you gave did not match his records. He then asks for your complete details. If you just gave it out, then you've become a new victim of credit card fraud.

3. A credit card skimming cashier

Sometimes, con men wouldn’t even need you to be distracted or drunk to do their dirty work. One such guy worked at a convenience store where I had to use a credit card because I don’t have cash with me at the moment. He swiped the card and laid it in front of the counter as we waited for the transaction to complete.

Scammers could steal data from your credit card by discreetly using devices called skimmers, which may look like an ordinary card terminal machine. Be on the lookout for these people who could swipe your card on an unknown device.

3. Some gym dude who peeks into your things

This could happen in a favourite public place where you have to leave your things behind for a while, perhaps a gym, in my case, or a public pool. I’d leave my belongings in a locker, which I’d sometimes forget to lock.

I come back with my things still intact, even the wallet where I store my credit card, until one day my bill comes up and lists five or six expensive purchases done using my account. Apparently, someone must have sneakily rummaged through my things and did some credit card skimming without me knowing it. The lesson, as always, is don’t go to the gym leave your belongings in an unlocked locker.

These con men are being savvier with their schemes, so it pays to be one step ahead of them, so that you will not end up paying for items they buy in credit card scams.

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