Published: January 25, 2021 | Updated: February 9, 2021 | Posted by: Rouselle Isla | Credit Card
As more Filipinos turn to cashless and online transactions during this pandemic, credit card fraud cases in the Philippines continue to increase as well. According to the National Bureau of Investigation, phishing became the top cyber crime in the Philippines in July 2020, with a 200% increase in cases . The Bank of the Philippine Islands also took down 2,000 phishing sites in October 2020 .
The numbers are alarming, but there are precautions you can take so that you won’t fall victim to these fraudsters.
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Credit card fraud is the unauthorized use of another person’s credit or debit card to obtain funds or make purchases on the cardholder’s account.
Before we talk about credit card fraud protection in the Philippines, let’s first have a quick look at the most common credit card frauds. The better you understand how fraudsters can use your data, the more measures you can take to protect yourself.
Left your bag inside the taxi? Forgot to put your credit card back in your wallet at the supermarket? Report and block your card immediately to prevent unauthorized charges.
Just like the name suggests, fraudsters take over your account. They get access to your personal information and then use them to make unauthorized transactions on your credit card.
Fraudsters use skimming devices to clone credit cards and then use the counterfeited cards to make unauthorized purchases on your account.
This happens when merchant employees work with fraudsters to defraud banks and customers. They usually swipe the card twice; once through the payment terminal and once through a skimming device that collects all data from the card. After which they sell your stolen data to fellow fraudsters on the “dark net”.
This type of credit card fraud can be perpetrated against you if the account number and expiry date of your card are known. It may be by way of mail, phone, or the internet, and does not require your physical card to be present, unless the merchant requests the card verification code.
To ensure the card works, fraudsters may attempt to process a small transaction first. These types of charges are not that noticeable, but they are often the start of a major fraud attempt.
Fraudsters will claim to be bank personnel and ask you to surrender your credit card for their personal gain. They will notify you via SMS, email, or phone call that you are entitled to a lifetime free membership or an increase in credit limit, or that your credit card has been used for a fraudulent transaction.
Fraudsters place a skimming device at ATMs that capture the data from your card’s magnetic stripe. Aside from the skimming device, a small camera is also sometimes placed on the ATM that will capture PIN key-ins.
Usually, fraudsters will send official-looking emails that look just like the legit emails from your bank or credit card company. They will ask you to urgently update your information or else your account will be deactivated. Sometimes, it’s an email notification about an unauthorized transaction in your account. The goal is to get you to click on the link in the email and get your personal information.
This is more commonly known as voice phishing. Fraudsters will call you on the phone and pretend to be someone working for your bank or credit card company. They will trick you into revealing personal information and credit card details over the phone.
Credit cards in the Philippines now come with EMV which provides protection for cardholders and acts as a deterrent for hackers and fraudsters. However, this does not mean that you should stop being careful where you swipe or where you leave your credit cards. Here are some tips to avoid being a victim of credit card fraud.
This applies to credit cardholders who have just been issued new credit cards. Merchants check the affixed signature at the back of the credit card as part of their security precaution. The signature on the credit card should match the signature on the sales receipt.
It may be a plastic card, but it’s more valuable than that. With that said, keep it secure inside your bag or wallet. Credit card fraud happens when you let your card out of your sight, or when you let your guard down.
Having all your essentials in one place is good practice, but sometimes it can be a big headache, too. Especially if you misplace it, lose it, or get it stolen. This is why it’s ideal to keep your credit cards separate from your wallet. If you lose your wallet, you only have one credit card to report. Also, if you own several credit cards, just bring one with you and have the rest kept in a safe location at home.
While most fraudsters aren’t wholly intrepid, there are those who are perfectly willing to go dumpster diving for old credit card billing statements to acquire information. This is why it’s ideal to shred your billing statements once you’re through with them. And if you want to hold on to them for record purposes, make sure that they aren’t easily found.
If you get a credit card receipt with blank spaces, strike through those spaces, or write ‘PHP 0’ on the space before signing. This means that you do not authorize any further transactions other than the one already carried out.
This way, you can spot any fraudulent or unusual activity on your credit card and report it to your bank immediately. Most fraudsters don’t always make huge and noticeable transactions. Not at first. But they will keep using your credit card until you report the unauthorized transactions and block the card.
If you’re in a conversation with someone claiming to be calling on behalf of your bank, it’s best to not engage. Banks will not call and ask for your personal information, unless you initiated the call yourself.
As the credit cardholder, you are the only authorized user of the credit card. You are responsible for it, and you pay for all the charges incurred on it. If someone with ill intent borrows your credit card, they can get all your credit card information and use it for their personal gain.
Read more: 8 Credit Card Mistakes to Avoid
Never lose your sight of your credit card, especially when paying at restaurants, supermarkets, or gas stations where you usually hand off your card to the cashier. Make sure that your credit card is swiped correctly and there are no other unnecessary items on the counter or people near the counter that can capture your PIN or credit card info.
This is like an invitation to be a victim of credit card fraud. You never know who’s lurking on your social media feed, so don’t post your personal and financial information. Whether it’s an intentional or accidental posting, remember that fraudsters are very good at finding missing digits on credit cards, guessing credit card expiry dates, and locating credit card issuer ID numbers.
When online shopping, only shop at websites that you trust and show the gray padlock symbol (Site Identity button) to the left side of the address bar. This means that everything is encrypted and you are connected securely to the website.
A gray padlock with a yellow triangle warning or a red strike over it means you should not send sensitive personal information on the site because the site is only partially encrypted.
Some apps can be harvesting your data without you even realizing it. Check your mobile app permissions one by one. Delete apps whose privacy and security policies don’t make sense, and regularly perform a scan for viruses and other vulnerabilities on your device. While you’re at it, invest in legit protection software for your gadgets as well.
If you suspect that you’re a victim of a credit card fraud, immediately notify your bank to suspend all activities on your card. Credit card disputes in the Philippines all go through an investigation process. Once it is found that they are fraudulent transactions, the amount will be refunded to you.
Learn more about credit card use:
Cardholders will be glad to know that there is a credit card fraud law in the Philippines that will penalize counterfeiters, hackers, and fraudsters. People who commit Access Device Fraud can receive the harshest penalty of life imprisonment, with a fine of up to PHP 5 million.
Acts that fall under Access Device Fraud include the following:
Republic Act (RA) No. 11449 considers the following acts as a form of ‘economic sabotage and a ‘heinous crime’.
Credit card fraud in the Philippines remains a big problem. But there are many ways you can protect yourself and your credit card data.
Fraudsters and scammers usually obtain credit card information in the Philippines through public networks. If you connect your phone or laptop to such a network, be very careful with entering your personal information.
Always think before you click. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it’s most likely a scam. More importantly, do your research. Knowledge is your best defense!
Rouselle is a quirky midlifer who loves the hustle of writing. She is also passionate about books, food, and film. When not busy typing away on her laptop, she’s busy collecting life moments and indulging in guilty pleasures. Follow Rouselle on Linkedin.