I recently came upon another alarming article which reveals thousands of credit cards are on sale on Russian websites. The piece isn’t referring to those prepaid cards you pick up at the market. It’s talking about the cards in your wallet.
By now this should come as no surprise. Because your financial and other personal information is valuable, there are people willing to steal it, people willing to sell it, and people willing to buy it. For as little as £19, that credit card in your pocket could be sold along with the data that makes up your personal identity.
How can people get their hands on your cards while you still have them? It’s not hard. Criminals have been able to steal account details from people just like you by rigging ATM machines or the credit swiping devices at restaurants or by hacking your computer through phishing attacks. And, as the article goes on to explain, these details can then be used to commit £308 million worth of card fraud every year in the UK alone.
Banks usually refund scam victims, but as the article again states, these losses are passed back onto customers in other ways.
So how can you protect yourself? Don’t use any ATM machine that looks like it might have been tampered with. Know what phishing is and how to avoid becoming a victim. But most of all, stay informed as criminals are constantly coming up with new ways to steal your hard earned cash. While legislation and online security tools exist to help keep you safe, firsthand knowledge and smart computer habits will always be your best defense.