All You Need to Know About Credit Card Fraud and How to Protect Yourself

Published January 19, 2023

What is credit card fraud?
Credit and debit card fraud occurs when a scammer gains access to a victim’s card information and goes on to empty their accounts, commit identity theft and more. 


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Credit card fraud can be pulled off in many ways:

  • Card skimming involves a scammer tampering with an ATM or payment terminal. The machine reads the victim’s card information and transmits it to the scammer.

  • Brute force attacks employ an auto-dialer to access the card numbers issued within the target’s BIN. The scammer can perform infinite guesses until they land on the card’s expiration date, security code and numbers.

  • Online phishing is done through insecure links embedded in emails or online ads, or through bogus surveys, solicitations, job offers, dating profiles and the like. The scammer uses these means to gain access to the victim’s credit or debit card information.

Protect yourself
Follow these tips to stay safe from credit and debit card fraud: 

  • Monitor your checking and credit card accounts frequently so you can spot the first signs of fraud. 

  • Sign up for alerts. Many issuers will send you texts or emails when new charges post to your account or card-not-present transactions happen. 

  • Use strong, unique passwords across all your accounts. 

  • Choose a card with zero liability protection so you won’t be held accountable for any fraudulent charges made on your card.

  • Shop with caution. Only shop reputable sites and avoid clicking on pop-up ads or links in emails from unverified senders. To confirm a site’s security, look for the padlock icon and the “s” after the “http” in the URL. Avoid storing your credit card info in online shopping accounts. Finally, make sure the security settings on your devices are current.

If you’re targeted
If you believe your card has been frauded, take immediate steps to mitigate damage. First, let the credit card company know about the fraud. Similarly, if your debit card has been frauded, let Maps Credit Union know as soon as possible. Your old card will be canceled and you’ll be issued a replacement card immediately. You may also want to place a credit freeze on your accounts to prevent the scammer from taking out a loan or opening another account in your name. 

Most credit and debit cards issued through major payment networks, like Visa and Mastercard, offer zero liability policies and other consumer protections. Read the fine print in your card agreement carefully to familiarize yourself with your responsibilities.