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Credit Cards Fraud – Phishing Email

If you live the ”American Dream”, like the rest of us, you are a frequent  user of credit cards for everyday purchases , and especially while traveling.

Credit cards are a very convenient way of payment for purchases, since you do not need to worry about having enough cash on you, or losing a cash receipt, etc.   However, there is also a down side to having and using credit cards, and that is a credit card fraud, stolen cards, and scams such as phishing emails.

I have experienced stolen credit cards, and unintentional duplicate charges, but this time I came across, and almost fallen for, a phishing email.  For those of you who are not familiar with this term, it basically is an email which is a scam, but if you do not pay attention, you will not realize it is fraudulent, since it looks so real, convincing, and with almost an exact logo of your favorite credit card company.

The email text usually asks you to verify information about your credit card, to update your account to prevent it from any type of fraudulent activity on your current account, or as an alert due to a possible fraudulent activity which might have occurred on your account.   Of course the first thing you want to do is to comply and prevent your account from such fraud, but once you do follow these instructions and provide the requested information, the scammer has a way of receiving this information (through a hidden email in one of the links) and hacking into your account, even though it looks like your credit card company will be the recipient of your update.

Here are a few very important tips, from one of the credit card companies, which one should follow before offering any personal information as a response to such email, or a phone call, even if is looks or sounds very authentic:

  • Unlike phishing emails, we will never ask you to verify personal information in response to an email
  • Most fake communications convey a sense of urgency by threatening discontinued service
  • Many fraudulent emails contain misspellings, incorrect grammar, and poor punctuation
  • Links within the fake email may appear valid, but deliver you to a fraudulent site
  • Phishing emails often use generic salutations like “Dear Customer,” or “Dear account holder” instead of your name
  • The address from which the email was sent is often not one from the company it claims to be

Please make a note of the above tips, pass them on to your friends and family, and remember to be very cautious, if you encounter any of the above.  Before you respond with any information to such emails or phone calls, contact your credit card company’s customer service and ask to verify these alerts, and notify them of such activity.

Credit card companies have a special fraud unit which keeps track of these activities and constantly tries to come up with new ways of protecting their customers from such fraudulent activities.

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