Credit Card Fraud
A small-time scam that paves the way to greater swindling.

Lisa Goth Cyber, Special

Credit card fraud is a type of identity theft that can lead to a grander scheme. Roughly 60% of people are accessing services or purchasing products online since the start of COVID-19. While digital is quickly becoming the only available channel with its many advantages, it also has its drawbacks. The major downside is the increased opportunities for scammers to steal consumers’ personal identification information (PII), the jackpot for scammers. E-commerce shopping attracts fraudsters, and with the increased reliance upon the internet, theft and fraud are at an all-time high.

Transactions that take place online and over the phone, called card-not-present (CNP), represent the greatest risk of fraud. According to the latest Atlas VPN research, credit card fraud increased 161% from the first quarter of 2015 compared to reports in the same quarter of 2020. It begins with account takeover fraud and escalates over time.

Credit card fraud is a lucrative business and is increasing. The same Atlas VPN research revealed that breaches increased by 33% in 2019 compared to 2018. In 2019 someone in the US was a victim of identity theft every 2 seconds. When criminals gain access to your bank or credit card and commit credit card fraud, it starts small, and if undetected, becomes more insidious.

If you think this type of criminal activity is rare and your chances of being a victim are slim to none, consider these identity theft statistics:

  • In 2019, 14.4 million consumers became victims of identity fraud, which is approximately 1 in 15 people.
  • Overall, 33% of US adults have experienced identity theft, which is more than twice the global average.
  • One in five victims of identity theft has experienced it more than once.
  • There’s a new victim of identity theft every 2 seconds.
  • Identity theft is the most common consequence of a data breach.
  • Consumers lost more than $1.9 billion to identity theft and fraud in 2019.
  • How to identify credit card fraud

  • Be proactive and stay vigilant. Keep a watchful eye on all of your accounts – checking, savings, brokerage, credit card. Turn off auto-pay to ensure you look at your statements and reconcile them.
  • Monitor credit reports and credit score changes to identify discrepancies that don’t make sense to you.
  • Watch specifically for small purchases you don’t remember making, or at a location you don’t patronize.
  • Look for a series of strange, minimal charges — this can signal that someone is testing the card. This way the fraudster can see if you are watching and also ensure that the information they have is working.

Many people think of credit card fraud for their personal credit cards, but it’s important to keep a vigilant watch over your business credit cards as well. Charles P. Leach Agency works with business owners to design personalized protection against the continually advancing fraud threats. Call upon the 80 years of experience and results of Charles Leach at 1.888.275.3224.