It seems there is always another scam in the news involving fraud and credit or debit cards, and it can be hard to stay on top of the latest precautions. What are the latest scams? What can I do to protect myself and my accounts? WCFCU has rounded up three of the top, current scams to watch for and tips for what you can do to secure your financial well-being:

1. Skimming

The practice of skimming—when a fraudster places a virtually undetectable, false card reader over a legitimate terminal—has been in the news and continues to be a challenge. At this point, skimmers are mostly associated with gas pumps, as many ATM terminal owners have implemented EMV “chip card” readers or anti-skimming software that makes it more difficult to capture usable data.

2. Account Takeover Scams

This term often is paired with “identity theft,” which is one form of account takeover. Other types of account takeover include hacking, telephone scams, and check and credit card fraud. Credit card fraud can be committed by a perpetrator either taking possession of your physical card, or recording your card number, expiration date, or CVV code. This information is then reused through impersonation, whether online or in person.

A new development in account takeover scams actually feeds on the newest security measures. “Tokenization,” or the issuing of a randomized number in place of your card number as a security measure, often requires personal or card data to be confirmed prior to completing a transaction. Many perpetrators have learned what information is used for this process and attempt to contact cardholders to gather the data. Once they have the information, they set up a tokenized service on a device to process the fraudulent transactions.

3. Merchant Data Breaches

When an unauthorized user hacks into a merchant network and steals valuable data, like your card information, that’s a merchant data breach. While this isn’t a new story—this has received press coverage for years as more and more of these happen—data breaches remain a challenge for consumers. There is a steady uptick in the number of card-not-present merchants being impacted by merchant data breaches.

How to Protect Yourself as a Consumer

  • Be Aware of Your Surroundings – When using ATMs or automated fuel pumps, look for any signs that devices have been tampered with. This can range from looking slightly different from normal, or suspicious people being in the area.
  • Monitor Your Accounts – Be diligent and watch for any suspicious activity on your statements. If you see something, say something to  WCFCU as soon as possible.
  • Watch for Suspicious Online Offers and Features – First, emails with links may have features identifying them as unsafe. While the email might look legitimate, the link might not be. Without clicking on the link, hover over the link to see the address. If it doesn’t match the website, DO NOT click on it. Next, be wary of text or telephone requests that ask you for personal or proprietary information. If something looks questionable, conduct additional research. Requests for confirmation of card data or other sensitive information can be an indicator of fraud. Normally, legitimate requests would ask the cardholder to confirm information only about transactions performed or the card information itself.

Lean on WCFCU

We are here to help. From ensuring that all fraud monitoring tools available are in use, to answering your questions about fraud prevention and website security, to helping you take the proper steps in the event you are the victim of a scam, our representatives have tips and are ready to assist you.