Cybercrimes are rampant in today’s world of digital finances, growing at an alarming rate every year. Credit card fraud seems like an ugly plague that is surging on unabated. Every country in the world is taking crucial steps to curb this, but there still are millions of cards that get affected every year. Credit cards are great when it comes to giving you the financial liquidity you need for your monthly expenses. But if you’re not aware of how to use them well, you might not even notice if or when your card gets hacked. In this article, we’re going to take a look at how credit card users all over the world are affected by card hacking, what the effects of it are, and how you can take preventive or corrective measures, as the case may be.
Statistics Don’t Lie
First, let’s take a look at some of the statistics that have been gathered from around the world to get some perspective on the matter. Over the past few years, even some of the leading companies around the world have faced the terrible effects of hacking. Then what’s to say that your card won’t get hacked? A study by Identity Theft Resource Center revealed that the year 2017 saw the numbers of about 14 million credit cards being exposed in the United States alone. More locally, in Singapore, even SingHealth had a data breach recently, resulting in the data of 1.5 million people being stolen.
Detecting Hacking - Look out for These Four Signs
So how do you know that your card has been hacked? Come, take a look at some of the common aspects that you need to keep an eye out for.
You Are Charged for Purchases That You Haven’t Made
This is possibly one of the most common things that card users around the world complain about. Are you seeing charges on your card statement for purchases you haven’t made? If you have subscribed to get SMS alerts, are you getting alerts saying that you have spent certain amounts when you actually have no clue about them? This is probably an indication that your card has been hacked. Someone else might be using your card details to make purchases. This can happen at any time and you need to watch out for such unauthorised activities on your card.
A Sudden Reduction in Your Credit Limit
Let’s say you have a monthly set credit limit of S$5,000 on your card and that you have used up only S$1,000 of credit for the month. Now if you check your limit and find that you have a credit of only S$2,000 left when you should ideally have a credit of S$4,000 remaining for the month, it is likely that someone else has been using your credit. You should get in touch with your bank to find out why this has happened and to verify whether it is an error on their part or if your card has actually been misused.
Unexplained Small Charges
Sometimes you may get an SMS from the bank containing the details of an interest amount that has been charged to your account. This is legitimate. But if you notice other small amounts suddenly getting charged to your card without your authorisation, be wary of them. In all probability, it might be a hacker trying to see if your card is working or not. Miscreants usually try and spend a small amount on the card to see if it is working or not. If they’re successful, that’s when they go in for the kill and start making transactions of higher value.
Unfamiliar Merchant Names and Locations
If you’re a responsible credit card user, you probably have a number of familiar merchants from whom you usually buy. Now if you happen to see certain charges being made at merchants or locations you’re not particularly familiar with, don’t hesitate to raise a red flag about this.
What Do You Do if Your Card Is Hacked?
Being a victim of credit card fraud is not a good feeling at all. You feel violated, cheated, and robbed of your credit. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to correct this situation and rectify it.
- Call your bank the minute you suspect that your card has been compromised and get it blocked once you confirm the same.
- All banks in Singapore have a provision where your liability is limited to only S$100 in case someone else has hacked your card and made unauthorised purchases.
Your liability will be limited to S$100 only if you notify the bank regarding the issue right away, file a police complaint about the same, and prove beyond all doubt that the hacking was not a result of your negligence.
Being a Responsible Card User Can Help
As with every other situation, being responsible with what you own and are in charge of can go a long way in preventing untoward incidents. As the old saying goes, it is better to be safe than to be sorry. Here are a few ways in which you can take better care of your card and do your part in protecting it from hackers.
- Never share the details of your card with anyone through any form of communication media, ever.
- If you’re writing down your card details, keep them in a safe place, away from prying eyes.
- If you’re shopping online, buy only from websites that are trusted and legitimate. Don’t make random purchases from unknown websites.
- Keep your credit card on your person at all times when you are outside or travelling, in a place that can’t easily be accessed by thieves.
- When you pay for transactions over the counter, be aware of how much is being swiped on the card.
- Always check your monthly statement while you pay your bill. Keep an eye out for transactions that haven’t been made by you.
Hackers try every possible way known to man to try and get the details of your card. Look for suspicious transactions, a sudden reduction in your credit limit, and the other matters we have discussed above, to find out if your credit card has been hacked or not. In addition to this, being a responsible card holder and taking good care to protect your card will help you prevent losses. After all, why wait for a cure when you can prevent something in the first place?