Credit Card Scams

There are more credit cards than people in the United States and these small slips of plastic have an enormous amount of credit attached to them. They also have fraud protection schemes so that the user can get their money back if anything untoward happens.

When credit card scams occur the bank foots the bill and no one really cares. This is why these scams are so common. And as long as credit cards are the main source of financial transactions in the US and the banks/police continue to show very little interest in scammers who defraud users, these scams will remain.

That's why it's important to remain vigilant, so take a look at these common credit card scams to be on the lookout for.

Hotel Credit Card Scams

These have really taken off in recent years. Imagine the scene: you check into a hotel, settle down, have a shower, maybe watch some TV and then the phone rings.

You answer it and the person on the other end says that they are calling from reception and there has been an issue with your credit card. They ask you to confirm your number so they can try to process the payment again. You agree, because who else would have the number to that room?

But this is a common scam, and one that catches thousands of tourists unaware every single year.

How the Scam Works

Tourist scams are the most common because they are the ones that work the most. When we’re on vacation we let our guard down, and scammers take advantage of this. What makes this scam especially effective is the fact that it can catch you within hours of you checking in.

When that happens the scam makes perfect sense to the unsuspecting victim, so they hand over their details without a second thought.

Those details are then either used by the scammer or sold to other scammers. All it takes is for the caller to get the number to the room, which isn’t really that hard. They often phone the rooms randomly, trying each of them in turn, but they may also watch the check-in desk to find victims.

How to Avoid it

If a caller claims to be from the front desk and is asking for sensitive information like your credit card details, just tell them you’ll see them soon and then walk down to the front desk. Don’t rely on hanging up and then phoning the front desk as scammers can stay on the line and pretend that the call has gone through.

Credit Card Skimming

Credit Card Scam

The machines that you use to swipe your card, whether you’re doing it in a shop or in an ATM, can be fitted with device that steals all of your details. You could lose everything in a single swipe.

How the Scam Works

Devices are fitted to these machines either by members of the public (as is the case with ATMs) or unscrupulous shop assistants, as is the case with card readers. They are made to be unnoticeable and they don’t even need to be there for long. A single device in the right place can get hundreds of credit card details in a matter of hours.

Shop assistants are often paid to add these devices to card readers. They may be part of a gang that applies to jobs just so they can use card skimming devices.

How to Avoid It

Make sure you look at credit card readers before you swipe your card. If it looks suspicious, don’t use it. You should also make sure you place one hand over the other while you input your PIN. Just imagine there is a camera above the number display reading everything you type, because that could be the case.

A Phone Call from Your Provider

Scammers are very brazen these days. They get your telephone number, phone you direct and then try all kinds of tricks to get you to hand over your financial details. One of the most common is to claim to be from your bank or card provider.

In most cases they don’t know which bank you are with or which provider you use and will either take a guess (if they get it wrong it doesn’t matter, they make hundreds of calls) or get you to divulge the information via some probing questions.

They will then claim that there has been a fraudulent transaction on your account and ask that you either provide them with your details to verify that you are who you say you are, or ask you to transfer your money to one of their “Secure” accounts while they monitor your account.

How the Scam Works

Simply put, they want your details or your money and they use all kinds of tricks to get these. In some cases they don’t even need your full details and will just glean what information they can get before using this info to contact your credit card provider or bank and pretend to be you.

How to Avoid It

Never trust a phone call from anyone who claims to be from your bank and asks for financial information outright. Your bank may ask a few security questions to make sure you are you, but they will never ask for your credit card info or anything else of that nature.

After all, they already have that info on file!

They would also never ask you to transfer money to another account. If they persist and tell you that failing to move the money could result in it being lost, then so be it. If that happened with a real bank then it would be their fault and they would be liable. Not only that, but if the circumstances required such a fast transaction, they could do it for you.

Great Deal Credit Card Scams

Credit Card Scammers

Millions of Americans are struggling with debt. We have discussed this many times in our guides to Getting out of Debt, Student Loans, the Cost of Healthcare, the High Cost of Medical Bills and much more. This is something that scammers try to exploit and they do it in increasingly inventive ways.

How the Scam Works

The scammer will phone the victim out of the blue or show up at their door. They may tell them that they are from a debt relief organization and have been tasked with helping them to get over their debt. They make statements like this because they know the victims will take notice when they hear something that sounds true to their situation. But in reality it sounds true to 90% of the people the scammers target!

They will offer some kind of consolidation, relief or forgiveness program—something that can apparently help to clear the debt but requires a “small fee”. They will then ask for credit card details to pay this fee. And…you guessed where it goes from there.

How to Avoid It

Scammers are taking advantage of the increasing desperation that debtors are facing. They really don’t care who they get money from, and someone with no money and little credit is just as much of a target as someone with a lot of both.

Don’t assume that you would never be a target because you don’t have much money, your details can still be used in other ways. And never trust anyone who claims to be able to offer you a great deal, does so out of the blue, and then asks for your financial information.

There are debt relief programs out there. There are services that you can pay for that genuinely will help you. But in most cases, you don’t need to pay (phone the number at the top of this page to access our own free service) and when you do, it will be through a protected gateway, and not to some random person over the phone.