Scammers are always coming up with clever new ways to steal people's credit or debit card numbers and personal information. While card fraud and identity theft can happen to anyone, staying alert and aware of the latest scams may help you reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
Learn the warning signs to watch for and protect yourself from common scams.
Steer clear of card skimmers
'Skimmers' are small devices that scammers may attach to card readers, often at gas station pumps or ATMs. When someone inserts their credit or debit card, the skimmer captures the data stored in the card's magnetic stripe. Scammers can then use the stolen card data to make fraudulent charges or even create a counterfeit card.
How to protect yourself:
The best way to protect yourself is by using the chip in your card for your transaction when the option is available. However, if swiping your card if the only option, look for the tell-tale signs of card skimmers. Check for loose or broken pieces by tugging on the card reader. At gas station pumps, pay attention to the security seal near the card reader. If it's broken, find another pump to use. Trust your instincts and don't swipe your card if you notice something unusual.
The first sign of credit or debit card fraud is usually an unauthorized charge on your account. It's always a good idea to check your accounts at least every two to three days to look for suspicious activity. Wright-Patt Credit Union's (WPCU) Mobile and Online Banking makes it easy! The sooner you identify the signs of fraud, the sooner you can take steps to stop it.
Shop smart online
Online shopping is quick and convenient, but it also comes with the risk of fraud. Scammers can create fake websites or hack into unsecured sites to steal your personal and payment information.
How to protect yourself:
When shopping online, make sure the website is reputable and secure before entering your payment information. Look for a lock symbol and “https" in the address bar (the “s" stands for “secure").
Refrain from checking your financial accounts or making online payments over public Wi-Fi networks. Hackers may be able to gain access to the networks and steal your personal information. Use a private, secure Wi-Fi connection instead.
Imposter scams happen when scammers contact you by phone, email, text or social media pretending to be a reputable source, like your credit card issuer or financial institution. The scammer may ask you to provide personal information, like your card data, PIN, account numbers or Social Security number. This information can be used to steal your money and even your identity.
How to protect yourself:
Be careful when responding to unexpected calls, emails or messages, even if they seem to be from trusted sources. Scammers can falsify caller ID displays and email addresses. A sure sign of a scammer is someone who pressures you or threatens you to give out your personal information. Remember, legitimate sources will already have your account information — they won't request it directly.
If you're unsure about a message from your credit or debit card issuer, call the number on the back of your card to confirm. Adding your phone number to the National Do Not Call registry will also help to filter out scam calls. Visit DoNotCall.gov to add your number.
How does WPCU protect against credit and debit card fraud?
Visa® Fraud Protection Calls
At WPCU, we partner with Visa® to watch for suspicious activity on our members' debit and credit cards. If suspected fraud is noticed, you'll receive a call from Visa Falcon asking you to confirm that you did in fact make the transaction.
The call will usually come from (800) 294-1855 and be from a recorded caller who will identify themselves as Wright-Patt Credit Union Fraud Prevention Services. If you receive a call from a live person, please hang up and call the number on the back of your card.
The call will ask you to confirm certain pieces of information to confirm you are the cardholder, by selecting your zip code, last 4 of their Social Security number, birthdate, last five digits of your account number or “member since" date from a list of possible choices.
Keep in mind, Visa Falcon will not ask you to provide this information directly – only select from a list of possibilities. Visa Falcon will then provide the transaction in question and ask you to confirm that you made the transaction.
New Feature: Card Management
Card Management, a new feature available through WPCU's Mobile and Online Banking allows you to view and manage WPCU debit, ATM and credit cards.
If your card goes missing, you can use Card Management to turn the card off until you are able to locate it. If your card is lost or stolen, you can report it and request a replacement card to limit the effects of fraud.
To access Card Management, simply tap the “More" menu when using the WPCU Mobile App or click on the “Additional Services" tab in Online Banking.
WPCU is here to help you and your family protect your personal and financial information and avoid becoming a victim of fraud. We have the tips, tools, and resources you need to keep your money and information safe. For more fraud prevention tips, visit WPCU.coop/StopFraud.