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Business News/ Money / Personal Finance/  Cardholders beware: Scamsters lure with increase in limit offers
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Cardholders beware: Scamsters lure with increase in limit offers

Under the guise of a bank employee, the caller feigns an enticing proposal to raise the credit card limit. Exploiting this ruse, the scammer cunningly extracts vital information from the credit card holder, including CVV, OTP, and other pertinent particulars.

Scammers are taking benefit of credit cardholders looking to increase their card limits. (REUTERS)Premium
Scammers are taking benefit of credit cardholders looking to increase their card limits. (REUTERS)

The escalating issue of credit card fraud presents a significant challenge. An illustrative instance of this concern is the apprehension of a Delhi-Noida gang by the police on August 09, 2023, highlighting a larger cohort of criminals exploiting unsuspecting credit card holders.

The Delhi-Noida gang employed a particular method in their operations. They would contact their victims, assuming the guise of representatives from the individual's credit card company. Subsequently, they would assert that the victim's credit card limit had room for expansion upon furnishing certain personal details, including the credit card number and CVV code. Armed with this information, the gang would then proceed to conduct unauthorized transactions.

Modus operandi of the scam

The fraudsters successfully persuaded individuals into disclosing their credit card information. They skilfully manipulated the victims into initiating fund transfers through e-wallets, citing various operational and incidental expenses. Reports indicate that they would solicit additional particulars such as PAN and date of birth, subsequently exploiting this data to gain unauthorized access to the individuals' accounts.

The scammers allegedly utilised the acquired funds to make online purchases of gold, later arranging for its retrieval from jewellers through porter services. Law enforcement authorities managed to trace the embezzled sum to the wallets of these jewellers and subsequently imposed a freeze on the identified amount.

Given the burgeoning frequency of such fraudulent schemes, it is crucial for individuals to maintain a vigilant awareness regarding these telephone solicitations. Credit cardholders must also be careful of other ways in which credit card fraud may occur. Some other common strategies that scamsters make use of include:

Credit card skimming: This is where criminals implant a device onto a credit card reader, capturing the cardholder's data during the card-swiping process. Be vigilant for any indications of tampering, such as a loosely attached card reader, disparities in colour or typography on the reader, or a card reader positioned in an insecure manner. Opt for a credit card equipped with a chip. Chip-enabled cards offer greater resistance to skimming compared to magnetic stripe cards. Embrace the use of a mobile wallet. 

These wallets employ near-field communication (NFC) technology, rendering it challenging for criminals to surreptitiously obtain your card details. Shield the keypad while entering your PIN. This precautionary measure thwarts criminals from observing your PIN and exploiting it for unauthorized transactions. Regularly review your credit card statements. If you identify any unauthorized charges, promptly report them to your credit card issuer.

Phishing: Phishing constitutes a form of social engineering assault aimed at deceiving targets into surrendering their personal data. Phishing emails or text messages frequently adopt the guise of credible entities, such as banks or credit card companies. These communications frequently incorporate a hyperlink, which, once activated, transports the recipient to a counterfeit website mirroring the authentic one. Upon furnishing their personal information on this fraudulent site, the culprits can abscond with it.

Exercise caution when confronted with emails or text messages soliciting your personal details. Refrain from engaging with any embedded links in such communications. Abstain from submitting your personal data on any website lacking your trust. If uncertain about a website's legitimacy, exercise prudence by refraining from sharing personal information.

Be vigilant for typographical errors or grammatical flaws within the email or text message. Phishing correspondences commonly feature these imperfections. Scrutinize the sender's email address. Should the sender's email address fail to correspond with an authentic source, it is prudent not to open the communication.

In instances of uncertainty regarding the legitimacy of an email or text message, directly contact the company or organization the communication purports to represent. However, avoid utilizing the contact details provided within the communication itself.

Data breaches: Data breaches present a significant security peril, potentially laying bare your personal details, including sensitive credit card information. To safeguard yourself against falling victim to data breaches, it is imperative to employ robust passwords and routinely alter them. Additionally, whenever feasible, activate two-factor authentication. This supplementary security layer mandates the input of a code from your mobile device in conjunction with your password.

Exercise caution when selecting which websites to access and what data to disclose online. Limit your interactions to trusted websites, refraining from divulging personal information to unfamiliar sources. Maintain your software in its current state. Software updates often incorporate security fixes that fortify your computer's defences against malware. Employ a comprehensive security suite. Such suites offer a safeguard against malware and potential data breaches. Educate yourself about data breaches. Bolstering your knowledge about these breaches empowers you to take preventive measures more effectively.

How to avoid such scams?

Should you encounter any such calls, the most effective approach to thwart them is by refraining from providing a response. Understanding these scams is vital in safeguarding yourself against credit card fraud. Here are several guidelines to assist you, which include:

  • Avoid disclosing your personal information via phone or email unless you are confident in the legitimacy of the individual or organization you are communicating with.
  • Exercise caution when encountering emails or text messages requesting your personal information. Refrain from clicking on any links embedded within these communications.
  • Safeguard your credit card numbers and CVV codes in a secure location; avoid carrying them on your person.
  • Enroll in credit monitoring services to receive alerts about any potentially suspicious activity on your accounts.
  • Frequently examine your credit reports to detect any indications of fraudulent activity.

There are increasing instances of credit card fraud, especially, those involving an increase in the card limit amount. Incidents like these have made cardholders more apprehensive about attending to calls or responding to suspicious emails. However, the increasing advent of technology not only highlights enhanced protection against such scams but also the likelihood of fraudsters resorting to new ways to usurp people’s money from their accounts.

Taking proactive measures to avert adverse outcomes is more prudent than attempting to rectify them once they have occurred.

 

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Published: 20 Aug 2023, 11:51 AM IST
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