Take care of your Lifeline…!


When we say the advancement of technology has influenced humanity in the various aspects of life that governs almost all acts of man… out of some of the few important inventions, I find Credit Cards as the prominent.

Just because you don’t have cash so don’t pay cash… but still you buy and when you use this credit card, with just that one swipe… assures that you have paid the bill. See it builds that trust… though no actual hard cash transaction!

I call Credit cards as ‘The Financial Lifeline’ because of their ability to pay for us when we don’t have cash. One of the laws of nature that we all have noticed or rather experienced is that, when we have something valuable, people around try to take advantage of that and if it is not possible directly, they try fraudulent ways. Isn’t it?

Well, that’s the same case with Credit Cards also. Every now and then we hear criminals behind the credit card, some or the other ways.

You may find some one calling from FBI, law firms, banks and other legitimate-sounding agencies and trying to obtain credit card information. On this Phishing call, they try to collect on loans and ask you to fax your important information to pay the debt. And if not you are not co-operative, chances of being threatened with legal action, arrest, and in some cases, physical violence are possible. Sometimes all this is done by the automated phone messages, also known as ROBOCALLS, which serves as a reminder to us to pay off our debt.

At times we think that, “Why me?” or “Why is someone behind my credit card information?” But let me tell you, all these Phishing scam artists aren’t targeting any one person in particular, rather they send out mass emails, make mass robocalls, or mail out mass letters in hopes of getting someone to bite on their scam. To prove their fraudulent activity legitimate, they will usually mention the name of an actual bank, hoping that you are the customer of this bank. They scare us into giving out our information by claiming there’s a problem with our account and then asking for our account information. Sometimes, a sales pitch outlining lower credit rates is summarized over the telephone. To receive these great rates, all you have to do is give your credit card number to the unknown caller. And if you question the caller, all you get is a ‘click’ and a dial tone as the swindler promptly hangs up!

And one of the recent phishing scam is the use of the unsolicited text messages to get you to provide credit card information to scammers. You receive a text message that appears to be legitimately linked to your bank or credit card lender. The text message informs you about some sort of discrepancy with your credit card account and asks you to send text message or call a phone number that is provided in the message, in order to be able to clear up the confusion. And now, when you do so, you are asked to enter your credit card account information including the security code on your credit card. You may also be asked to provide other identifying information. Of course, the scam is that this text message isn’t coming from your bank at all but rather is a phishing scam designed to fool us to provide credit card information to the one who then plans to use that.

I feel that, scam artists are getting more and more creative day-by-day with their methods of taking advantage of credit card holders. You may have noticed that you have been asked for the three digits on the back of your card, which ensures that you actually have the card in your possession. We feel safe giving out these numbers as these numbers cannot be lifted with skimming or other electronic scamming devices. Though, scam artists know they need to get them if they hope to make any purchases with our card, particularly for making online purchases. So now, with this new scam, the scam artist calls and tells you about some suspicious activity on the card and when you deny those purchases, you are asked to confirm your address and later promised to begin a fraud investigation too. So they over your trust and confidence. And now, you are provided some instructions to call the 800 number on the back of their credit cards and to direct any further questions to the security department. Before finishing the call, however, the scammer will ask you to verify possession of the card by giving the three digit security code on the back of the card. Once you do so, the scammer finally has what he wants! Well, I know, this is particularly troublesome as it is not unusual for a credit card company to contact you if any suspicious activity is observed on the card.

At times the scammer may call you claiming to be working for the fraud department for your bank and tell you that your card was flagged because of an unusual purchase pattern. He may tell you some names the bank that the card is issued through and later ask you if you made the purchase of some ‘X’ amount with a marketing company. When you deny, you will be told that your credit will be sent to you through the mail, and also he verifies your address, adding to his genuinity. This is because he already has all of the credit card information he needs – except for the last three numbers that are located on the back of the card.

And after Phishing, now there is Vishing Scam also for which VoIP services are used to call people and asking them to call the local Central Bank with a toll free number. Once you dial the toll free number, you are asked to provide personal information in order to avoid account deactivation. In case, you blindly do so, Sorry to say that your information is in danger!

To make matter worse, it is a relatively easy scam to pull off. All the scam artist needs is specialized equipment or access to an online service that manipulates caller ID information by making a fake number appear on the recipient’s caller ID. It is easy to get a hold of this machine as it is quite cheap and easily available in the market. On the other hand, selling these cards is perfectly legal because they are sold under the impression that they are to be used for entertainment purposes or personal use. To add to it, the company says it will surrender all documents of users if subpoenaed. All good, however, it does little for the unsuspecting person that receives one of these spoof phone calls and believes it to be legitimate because of the number appearing on the caller ID.

After knowing all this, we feel quite insecure of having a credit card. However, I am sure we cannot just avoid them in our lives. In this case, I feel all we can do is to be quite cautious, as far as out credit card information is concerned.

With credit card phone scams on the rise, its better to avoid rather decide never give credit information over the phone. Rather, tell the caller you will be returning their call via the phone number on the back of the card. Also make sure that you do not reply any emails or pop-up message or telephone call requesting personal or personal financial information such as banking account numbers, or card numbers. If you have received a phishing phone call, contact your bank as well as the local law enforcement agency and provide as many details as possible about the call itself.

In case of receiving Phishing emails, contact the governmental organizations that collects phishing email information in order to help protect the general public or contact Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). Also, avoid sending you personal or personal financial information through emails. Always use Anti-Virus software which filters the phishing emails. If possible, contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) about it as well and get the emails blocked from being sent out or by directly sending out a warning to all of their account holders who might be affected. Social media is a great source where we can express our civic responsibility. Hence, try to inform others to help stave off from this type of crime with the help of  Twitter, Google+, etc.  Every little bit helps… isn’t it?

Use some common sense and be a smart Credit card user. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to dealing with credit card security. It becomes our responsibility to take care of this lifeline when it takes care of us during rough times… right?

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shippi
    Jul 31, 2011 @ 14:17:49

    Great blog. very true said. it is difficult to live without plastic money these days.

    Reply

  2. Krishna
    Jul 31, 2011 @ 14:19:17

    Good one Raks, yes plastic money has become like a lifeline these days!

    Reply

  3. ecstasy_crazy
    Jul 31, 2011 @ 14:20:28

    identity theft is a common problem now with no solution to it. once u r a victim … u r gone!

    Reply

    • rakhikankane
      Aug 11, 2011 @ 05:34:07

      Hi ecstasy_crazy,

      well i agree that it is a common problem, however if we try to take few cautious steps… i m sure the chances of getting victimized reduces 🙂

      Reply

  4. Rohit
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 05:22:51

    Agreed, CC are life line and we need to take care of them. but, frankly speaking very difficult to do so. situations are getting more worst. no prevention measure works for a longer time, as these criminals are really smart. and always have new ways to tackle with new prevention methods.

    Reply

    • rakhikankane
      Aug 11, 2011 @ 05:37:13

      Hi Rohit,

      I agree that situations are getting worst day-by -day, however some precautions does work n really can save you from being a victim.

      yes, u r rite that criminals keep discovering new ways for such crimes, however there is always a way out! I feel we too need to be a step ahead n be more cautious.. After all it is the matter of our identity and our money!

      Reply

  5. Ashley Joseph
    Aug 14, 2011 @ 06:04:08

    Rakhi,
    I have been a victim of this phone thing. I know it is too tough to handle such situations. All we can do is be little more careful.

    Reply

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