Credit card fraud in the Philippines continues to be a danger for credit card owners and people who are considering applying for one. Credit cards provide a flexible and effortless method of payment, but this ease of use also makes it easy for fraudsters to take advantage of.
However, you can avoid being defrauded as long as you are aware of how credit card fraud in the Philippines happens and how you can prevent it from happening to you.
Credit card security features
There’s nothing stopping someone other than the cardholder from swiping their credit card to make a purchase, this is why credit cards are manufactured with several integrated security features. Learn more about these features so that you can better protect yourself from fraud.
- Credit card account number: This 16-digit number on the front of your card holds a lot of information about the cardholder and their account. A credit card account number also includes a checksum, a single digit that allows banks or merchants to check if the account number is valid through a specific algorithm. Checksums prevent scammers from creating phony credit card numbers and catch errors when consumers input their account numbers. Always make sure that your account number matches the number on the sales receipt.
- 3D hologram of card network: This is a security feature that prevents credit cards from being physically replicated. Making an exact copy of your card is near impossible as these hologram stickers are comprised of several layered images and the process of creating just one requires specialized and expensive equipment.
- Card Verification Value (CVV): This is a set of three (3) to four (4) numbers found on the back of your credit card and is typically asked for when you are making online or remote purchases. Since you can only find this number by having possession of the physical credit card, the CVV adds an extra layer of security by making sure that the cardholder is the one actually making the transaction.
- Signature Panel: This is a blank white space on the back of your credit card. The cardholders’ signature on the card can be compared to the signature on the bank’s copy of the receipt or on a valid ID.
- Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) chip: The EMV chip is a global standard microchip that credit card providers utilize to reduce instances of credit card fraud in the Philippines. Unlike the older technology which used a magnetic strip, the EMV chip generates a unique transaction code every time the card is used for a purchase. Fraudsters that attempt to steal your information through one transaction, such as via skimming, will fail as the transaction data will not be usable beyond the payment it was generated for.
Types of credit card fraud in the Philippines
Knowing the modus operandi of fraudsters is already winning half the battle, as you can avoid being deceived and having your information stolen. Familiarize yourself with the most common methods of credit card fraud in the Philippines.
- Lost or stolen cards: This happens when the credit card is stolen from your bag, pocket or wallet. The thief will then use your card to make purchases in physical stores or online.
- How to prevent it: Treat your credit card like cash and be vigilant in keeping your card safe. If your card gets stolen or lost, call your bank immediately to deactivate the account. Typically, you will be made to pay for unauthorized purchases, so you need to block your account as soon as you can.
- Phishing and vishing: Phishing refers to the criminal act of sending fake messages–via emails, text messages, chat room messages, online banner ads, message boards, mailing lists, fake job search sites and fake browser toolbars–in order to get you to divulge your sensitive data, like your credit card’s CVV, login information, PINs, etc. Vishing operates in a similar manner to phishing, except vishing fraudsters contact you via phone calls. Some scammers can use a combination of both phishing and vishing to get your sensitive data.
They can lure you into giving your information by pretending to have a promo or a reward waiting for you. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Other scammers can also pretend that your account will be blocked by the bank if you don’t provide your information. Once they have your data, they can use your credit card or even take over your account.
- How to prevent it: With image editing apps and programs being easily accessible, these scammers can create emails or websites that appear official, but remember, no legitimate financial institution would ever contact you to request data. Ignore and delete any suspicious emails or text messages and always be wary of emails, texts or websites that request sensitive information. Report any suspicious activity to your bank right away.
- Card Replacement Scam: Posing as bank personnel, fraudsters will call, email or send you a text message asking you to surrender your card. Often they entice cardholders to give up their cards by saying they will be given a credit card upgrade.
- How to prevent it: Never give your credit card to anyone as credit card providers would never ask for your card and would instruct you to destroy your credit card, if they are to give you a new one, instead. Report any suspicious activity to your bank right away.
- Skimming: Scammers can install small devices on ATM machines or credit card readers which captures and stores information stores in your card’s magnetic stripe. Most of these skimming devices blend seamlessly into the credit card reader machine, so you might not even notice. Retail and restaurant workers may also collude with fraudsters and can swipe your credit card in a skimming device if you aren’t looking. Once these scammers have your information, they will either make a copy of your credit card, use the information for online purchases or sell your information online.
- How to prevent it: Fortunately, thanks to the adoption of EMV technology, it is harder for skimming devices to collect information, but you should still remain vigilant. Insist that all credit card transactions happen in your presence. You can also try to check ATM machines by shaking them to see if any skimming devices have been placed there.
Preventing credit card fraud when paying online
When shopping online, look for “https” or a padlock symbol on the leftmost part of the URL bar. This signifies that the website has an SSL Certificate, which guarantees that any sensitive data you send can only be viewed by the intended recipient. SSL Certificates in websites protect any packets of data transferred from its website users via contact forms, buttons, text fields, or any information inputted and submitted into the site.
Be alert for purported “bank representatives” who ask you for your one-time password (OTP) when logging into an online bank account. These are likely fraudsters who plan to log into your account.
More steps to protect yourself from credit card fraud in the Philippines
Every time your credit card bill arrives, thoroughly scrutinize your transactions. If you see any errors or unauthorized transactions, contact your bank immediately. The sooner you report these discrepancies bank, the faster you can stop the fraudster from using your credit card.
Avoid giving any personal or financial information. The Credit Card Association of The Philippines (CCAP) strongly advises against sharing your online passwords, CVV number, and your credit card account number.
Upon receiving your card, make sure to sign your credit card to give it another layer of protection from fraud. And when your card is expired or cancelled, shred or destroy the physical card, along with documents that contain sensitive information such as bank statements or credit card bills as scammers may get your information from the garbage.
While credit card fraud in the Philippines poses a threat to your finances, you can prevent fraudsters from taking advantage of you be remaining vigilant, being careful with your personal and financial information and being aware of how scammers operate.