Credit cards are one of the handiest payment methods you may have right now. For daily transactions or in case of emergency fund transfer, a credit card is your most reliable friend. Unfortunately, this lucrative mode of payment can get hacked if you are not careful enough.
The bitter truth is your credit card hack can happens though you were cautious enough while using them because it’s not always your fault. Sometimes card information can be compromised by a third-party like from the last restaurant where you have treated yourself to a delicious platter or an online purchase you have made recently and paid via credit card.
Hackers nowadays target big organizations and the pos(point-of-purchase) system to steal credit card information and sell them in the black market.
Here you will find the top 10 ways how your credit card hack can be happened –
- Skimming/ E-skimming: Regular skimming or e-skimming are not that much different. Regular skimming or ATM skimming is done via an electronic method of retaining a user’s card information from the ATM or the POS system. Here attackers usually use small devices that can read and store the card information and later the thieves sell these data in the black market or simply purchase various things without the owner’s consent. E-skimming happens while a user makes purchases online and uses a credit card. Attackers use malware to record the card information from the website’s payment portal.
For example, in 2019 Puma Australia’s website got compromised via a very sophisticated malware skimmer that stole users’ sensitive data like usernames, addresses, CVC, and credit card numbers.
- Public Wi-Fi: If you are making payments online and using public wi-fi then there is ample scope for your credit card data to get exposed to hackers. Public wi-fi is always the most lucrative place for hackers to exploit users. Hackers can easily breach your device as this public wi-fi usually doesn’t have enough security protocols.
- Fake Keyboards: Hackers sometimes take advantage of ATM’s security flaws. They often replace the keyboards or key-pads with the real ones and trick the users. When a user enters his card details these fake keyboards or key-pads transmit the data to the thieves.
- Pharming: If you are not cautious enough your data may be compromised via pharming a type of phishing attack. Hackers here use codes or malware that redirect a website’s traffic to the hacker’s made-up webpage that resembles the real website and a user may end up sharing his/her personal information there.
- Phishing scams: Phishing refers to the technique of sending a fake email that looks like an authentic one. Hackers send this type of mails along with attachments or links. As soon as a user clicks the link or downloads the attachments the hackers can access the user’s personal information.
- Vishing: It is a type of social engineering attempt made by hackers. Hackers will call you posing as the authority of the bank or service and then they will talk you into sharing sensitive information which they will use while committing a crime or they will impersonate you and steal your money.
- Dumpster Diving: If you share the confidential information of your credit card in any printed form whether it’s for personal use or any transaction, make sure to destroy them later. Because thieves often collect these from the trash and use them for stealing your identity. However, it’s not always your fault. Sometimes many businesses also don’t destroy these data after a transaction and compromise the users’ information.
Always remember physical data are more crucial for your security. Thieves still look for physical data in your trash bags or the dumpsters. Try to go as paperless as possible because from these used invoices or receipts thieves can not only hack your credit card or accounts but also can steal your identity which will be later exchanged in the black market or will be used in criminal activities.
According to threatpost, hackers are dumpster diving to collect taxpayers’ data which are related to covid-19 relief money scams
- Malware or Viruses: Hackers often develop software that looks like a good one offering you a valuable or productive service like a major update of your application or device. If you get tricked and download these onto your device or click any link containing malware then hackers can easily steal your personal and sensitive information like your user id, pin or passwords, etc. For example, British Airway’s customer data were breached in 2018 from their website or app via malware or virus attack, and an estimated 380,000 card payments were stolen.
- Hacking via third-party: Hackers may steal your sensitive information by hacking into a business. For example, if a hacker breaches a company that deals with online payment and you have used your credit card there then the hackers will get access to your card.
A real-world example is the Ticketmaster data breach that took place in 2018 where the hackers got hold of the payment gateway and were able to access the payment information of the users.
- Social Engineering: Hackers are becoming smarter and they are now using various types of tools and modes of communication to hack into your personal information. You may get an SMS with a masking name of your bank stating that you need to share some of the information for a security check. If you fall into this trap by responding to this SMS then you’ll lose control of your account and card.
What to do if your credit card got hacked or stolen?
If you lost your physical credit card/s then the best action is to inform your bank asap and lock out your account for a while as long as you don’t collect the new card and you perform other security checks with your account.
But if your card’s information got stolen in any other way like by skimming or phishing then it may take up to several months to detect that your card information is compromised. You may only find out about it once you see any unauthorized changes or any payments that you have not made but your card has been charged for.
It is not an easy task to find out when or how your credit card information gets compromised. So, always review your transaction weekly, and if possible you should regularly ensure that nothing unusual happened.
If you find any payment that is not made by you then contact your credit card issuer and file a report. This will let the authority to be informed and take possible counteraction needed.
Here are some ways of how you can prevent your credit card information from being stolen and tips on how to be safe from credit card fraud,
- Don’t lose your credit card: Remember the worst way of losing control over your credit card is to lose your physical card. So, always protect your credit card and if lost, then report to your credit card issuer promptly.
- Put a signature: Most people don’t put their signature on the card. But it is a really good thing to put your signature on your card because it shows the ownership of your card and many retailers cross-check the signature while making a big purchase.
- Don’t share your PIN: You must remember that no vendors need your PIN to proceed to purchase by themselves, it is only you who should put the PIN by yourself. So, never share your PIN with anyone verbally or in written format.
- Use a strong password and hard to guess PIN: Refrain from using your birth date or your cars’ license plate number, or your cellphone number as your password or PIN. Always use a strong password and hard to guess PIN to protect your account and credit card.
- Not using public Wi-Fi: To make any online payments or fund transfer via your credit card or your account never use publicly available internet service. Because a public wi-fi doesn’t have enough security protocols and hackers can easily get your information by breaching into these networks.
- Clicking only trusted links: You may encounter many links and attachments via email and SMS giving away gift vouchers of a free lottery. Don’t fall for these types of scams. As soon as you click on these types of links your account and device will get compromised along with your personal information.
- Dispose of every hard document: If there is a memo or cash receipts/voucher containing your personal information like your name, address, or your card information that you have already used then get rid of them by burning that piece of paper or just shred everything.
- Subscribe for transaction alerts: If you are using a credit card or online account then make sure to turn on transaction alerts so that every time a transaction is made via your card or account you get notified. So, if anyone gets their hands on your information and use that for any transaction you can track and take the necessary steps to prevent it or alter the transaction with the help of the authority.
- Destroy old cards: If you have an old credit card then make sure to destroy it. If you just throw away your old credit cards, thieves can still get your personal information from them, and then they can use it for further fraudulent activities like identity theft.
- Carry less: If you own multiple cards then try not to carry them all with you. Because the more of your cards you expose in the public, the more possibilities of getting victimized by “cracking cards” a specific type of fraud used by criminals. In this way, they sell your personal information or credit card numbers on the black market.
- Visiting and purchasing from trusted websites: If you are a frequent online shopper then you should keep a keen eye on the sites you are visiting and purchasing from. Don’t buy from any sites that don’t have security clearance to avoid scams.
- Don’t share credit card information over the phone: If you are talking over the phone always be extra careful while sharing any credit card information. Never share any personal information like your password or PIN over the phone. Because scammers often pose them as card issuer authority and may talk you into sharing your sensitive data.
- Checking account statements regularly: Always check your account statements rigorously and daily, if not possible then at least weekly. Every time you make a payment or you get a transaction alert, make sure to cross-check your account statement so that you can make yourself accountable for it. In case of any anomalies report to your card issuer to take the necessary steps.
- Always log out: Every time you do an online payment from your device browser or prom any public computer make sure to log out from your account.
- Keep an eye on your credit reports: If you are a credit card holder then you must receive an annual credit card report. Always check and recheck your credit card report to find out any anomalies.
- Avoid outdoor ATMs: Try not to use your credit card from any outdoor ATM booth. Because scammers always target outdoor ATMs as they are easy to access and the possibility of getting caught is also low. Always try to use ATM booths that are situated in your banks.
- Credit monitoring services: Though it might cost you a good amount of money, it is always better to take precautions than regret later after an accident. Your card issuer may offer you credit monitoring service and many insurance agencies provide credit card monitoring service. If you don’t have enough time to monitor all your transactions, these monitoring service providers will do that on your behalf. In this way, you can keep an eye on your credit card transactions.
- Freeze your account: If you suspect a credit card breach don’t hesitate to freeze your transaction by contacting your card issuer. For instance, this might seems unnecessary but if you delay there is a good chance of reaching the point of not getting back your money.
If you are lucky enough and have not yet faced any fraudulent activities, or got victimized by any credit card scamming or identity theft don’t be too satisfied. Be proactive, because the number of credit card scams and online scams is rising alarmingly during this COVID-19 pandemic. As people are using online payment methods more frequently, cybercriminals are using more sophisticated approaches to steal your data and compromising your identity. Nowadays scammers don’t need to go through all the physical tricks needed to steal your credit card information from the ATMs, they can easily steal more than you know just by using malware or phishing.
So be proactive and try to be as careful as you can while using online payment gateways. Do educate yourself with the recent credit card threats and participate in the awareness programs or webinars to be one step ahead of the thieves.
At TechForing we have been providing personal cybersecurity services to clients to secure their digital footprints. If your financial data or credit card has been compromised or if you suspect unusual activities, we are here to help. We perform thorough audit and cybercrime investigations which can reinstate your hacked credit card and financial data security.
LEARN FROM PROFESSIONALS, MAKE YOUR DIGITAL TRANSECTION SECURE FROM CYBER THREATS