Credit cards are a financial product that suffers more risks and greater exposure than other products. Let’s get to know the main risks of credit cards.

If there is a financial product that has suffered an exponential growth in fraud and crime in recent years, it is certainly that of the different branches of credit cards. Although it is true that the application of new security measures has been noted for all purposes in this product, it is no less true that fraud models and technological implementations in this sense mean that the user must take special care in their relationship with the cards and their use.

In our country, which is by no means unaffected by the growth of these crimes throughout Europe, there are certain threats that are more present than others, but which ultimately require the same precautions. We will try to identify the main dangers to credit cards, as well as possible solutions and prevention models to avoid fraud.

The main card risks

  • Card counterfeiting: This is the action that generates the highest volume of frauds in our country, more than 65% of card frauds are related to counterfeiting and improper duplication of these products. There are different models of counterfeiting, but the most common is related to the duplication of the information of the magnetic stripe of the real and operative card, logically without the knowledge of the cardholder, to later use the card fraudulently.
  • Loss or theft: The fraudulent use of a found or stolen card is the second most common fraudulent action with these products in our country. Over 20% of fraudulent credit card transactions involve theft or loss of a card, in which the offender uses a user’s real card for such transactions, usually for cash withdrawals or remote purchases.
  • Theft of card data: Although in country this fraudulent use of cards is not yet on the same scale as the two previous ones, in Europe it is practically at the same level as duplicate cards. The illegal use of card information in transactions (fundamentally through the Internet) is a growing phenomenon and is derived, as is easy to suppose, from the theft of credit card data, which can occur either in person (through transactions or information and receipts) but also in operations in fraudulent spaces set up for this purpose on the Internet.
  • Change of cardholders: Less common in our country, this involves the improper use of the user’s personal data by another user to generate the contracting of financial products in the name of the former, with preference for credit cards that will be used and subsequently claimed the expenses from the user whose data was used.

In addition to the above, it is necessary to take into account crimes such as the substitution of ATM access systems as an instrument to obtain the necessary data for any of the above mentioned dangers, this is a method not so frequent, but also quite widespread during the last years.

How to protect yourself from card risks

All credit cards today have better levels of security than in the past. From the incorporation of the so-called smart chips to the immediate card blocking systems after the communication of the incident by the user. However, it is the latter, the speed of response in the event of an incident, which is particularly relevant. We must bear in mind that by applying all the security measures, if we carry out the protocol of immediate communication of a disappearance, theft or possible fraud, the responsibility derived from the misuse of the card is limited in a very notable way for the user, which can suppose a serious risk against our patrimony.

  • Maintain control over the product: This implies not only not losing sight of the cards when making payments, something very important, but also other issues such as avoiding long periods of exposure of the card to third parties in payments, or obvious issues such as always remembering to remove the card from the ATMs or check that the personal menu of the same is closed after our passage.
  • Documentation and passwords: We must avoid at all costs accumulating documentation related to the card, especially when it is sensitive in terms of personal data. In the same way, passwords should be far away from simple matters such as birthdays, license plates or address numbers, and, of course, never carry any paper with the passwords written down, and always carry all the cards signed on the back.
  • Manage the information we provide from our cards on the Internet: More and more frequently it is recommended the use of prepaid or virtual cards oriented to the payment on the network, this does not mean that the network is not insured, but, without that the degree of fraud has increased exponentially. It is better to prevent from cards that only possess amounts directly related to the purchase that we want to make and that are of course neither accessible to credit nor accessible to the whole of our availability in account.
  • Maintain control over the movements of the cards: This is another basic question that can allow us to determine if indeed undue charges are being made and if these can come from a fraud rather than a mistake, to control the movements and to contrast them with the receipts is something tedious but basic in a good control of the security of our cards.

Finally, any anomalous circumstance, either at an ATM or when faced with a payment at a POS that we find dubious, it is preferable to opt for other options or even to contact the authorities if we are really convinced of the possibility of card fraud, in any case, whenever our card has suffered any incident that leads us to think of possible fraud, it is preferable to automatically contact the issuing entity and block the product.