According to a quarterly report by Business World, about two-thirds of credit card and debit card issuers in the Philippines haven’t migrated to the newer, more secure version of credit cards as of December 2015. All banks are required to adopt the Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) chip technology in their credit and debit cards by 2017, as per the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Circular No. 859.
An EMV chip makes plastic cards more secure as it generates a unique code for every transaction, thus preventing fraud particularly due to credit card skimming. “In contrast, magnetic strip cards use static data, which means every transaction uses the same number, making it easy for a third party to hack an account or clone the card information,” the report says.
The Philippines is currently the fifth country in the Asia-Pacific region with the highest rate of credit card fraud and scams, the report cited research by Trend Micro, with point-of-sale (POS) attacks the most common.
How can you prevent being a victim of such scams? And what steps should you take once you’ve confirmed that you’ve been victimized by a fraudster?
There are many ways scammers can get ahold of your credit card and use it for their own good. Among the most common ones are the following:
• Theft. By physically stealing your credit card, thieves can use your card to purchase goods or services by pretending to be you.
• Identity theft. With the use of your personal information stolen from you by any means, criminals can create a credit card using your credentials and make money out of it. Since the card is named after you, you may become liable for the charges made on that fraudulent account.
• Skimming. Probably the most prominent way to target credit cards, criminals use establishments and install cloning devices on credit card terminals and transfer your information to blank cards so they can have an illegal copy of your card.
• Phishing. This happens when scammers send you an email that looks exactly like your bank’s website, except that it leads to the criminals themselves. Once you key in your personal information, they can use your data to either make a purchase using your card or make a card on your behalf.
• Card replacement scam. You will receive a notification from a group pretending to be your bank that your card has been upgraded and you need to surrender your current card to a member of the group and use your card illegally once they’ve obtained it.
How to prevent fraud
• Sign your credit cards as soon as you receive them.
• Make sure all card transactions are done in your presence. Never lend your credit card to anyone.
• Be careful when giving away your account number over the phone.
• Be wary when replying to unsolicited and suspicious emails.
• Transact only with secured websites. Look for “https” in the URL bar or the padlock sign ￼ usually found in the right corner of your screen.
• Never sign a blank credit card receipt.
• Always check your credit card bills as soon as you receive it. Check if all transactions are valid.
• When throwing away trash, make sure you destroy all documents, including receipts, monthly utility bills, and credit card statement. If you don’t have a shredder, you can simply crumple the pieces of paper and run water onto them.
• Cut up or shred old credit cards. Never hand them out to anyone.
What to do in case of credit card fraud
Once you realize you’ve been fallen victim to a scammer, stay calm and keep a presence of mind. Here are the steps you should take:
• Report it to your issuing bank. If you think that your credit card account has been used without your authorization, call your bank’s hotline as soon as possible and report the incident.
• Change all your online passwords. Prevent further security breach by securing your login information on email, social media, and merchant accounts.
• Find your most recent transaction receipts. Your transaction history and previous receipts will aid the authorities in their investigation.
• Stop using your credit card. When you’ve been a victim of a credit card scam, the last thing you need to do is to make another purchase using your credit card. Instead, ask your bank to cut your account temporarily and block all potential uses. –Dino Mari Testa