These Are Scammers' Least Favorite Credit Cards

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  • Credit card scammers cost consumers billions of dollars every year.
  • The most common scams are card skimming, phishing, and taking photos of cards.
  • According to convicted identity thieves, their least favorite cards to steal are American Express cards -- because they require a ZIP code to finalize a transaction.

This type of credit card is more difficult for scammers to use.

Credit card fraud is a real problem, with over $32 billion lost to scammers in 2021 alone. It's important to know the signs of credit card scams so you can protect yourself from becoming a victim. As recently reported by News4JAX, Reader's Digest asked convicted identity thieves the most common ways scammers steal credit card information and their least favorite cards to steal.

Common credit card schemes

Convicted identity thieves state that the easiest way to steal people's credit card information is by taking a photo of it while it's being used at a grocery store. Another common ploy for scammers is to steal mail from people's mailbox. Thieves are able to gain access to unsuspecting consumers' credit card numbers, names, and addresses in one swoop.

Phishing is another form of credit card fraud in which criminals send emails pretending to be from a legitimate financial institution such as your bank. The email typically contains a link that leads to a fake website where the criminals can steal your personal information (such as passwords or credit card numbers).

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Using skimming devices is one of the most common types of credit card fraud. These devices are installed on ATMs or other machines where credit cards are accepted and scan your card when you use it. The information is then stored on the device, which criminals later use to access your account and make unauthorized purchases. Card skimming grew by 760% in the first half of 2022, costing consumers over $1 billion a year.

Thieves' least favorite card

Once the thief has gotten their hands on the card, they try to make fraudulent purchases online or buy gift cards that are easy to resell and are difficult to trace. According to the convicted thieves, their least favorite credit card to steal is American Express. American Express transactions are safeguarded with an extra layer of security -- the user must provide a ZIP code to complete any purchase.

How to protect yourself

To protect yourself from skimmers, always check for any suspicious-looking attachments on an ATM or gas pump before using it and avoid entering your PIN when possible. If a machine looks to have been tampered with, do not use it -- report it to the store or bank immediately. To avoid falling victim to phishing, always be sure to verify any emails claiming to be from your bank or other financial institution before clicking on any links. Do not provide personal information over email unless you are certain that the email is legitimate.

Make sure your credit cards have an embedded chip. Chip cards are one of the best ways to protect your data from fraudsters because they are harder to clone than magnetic stripe cards. These cards have a microchip that stores information securely and generates a unique code for each transaction, making it difficult for hackers to access your data. If you notice fraudulent transactions on your account, notify your card issuer immediately and file a police report. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you aren't responsible for charges that are made after you've reported the theft, and your total liability is limited to $50 for unauthorized charges.

Credit card scams are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, but there are steps you can take to help protect yourself. Always check for skimming devices, protect your mail, and never click on links contained in emails claiming to be from legitimate financial institutions. Upgrade to a credit card with an embedded chip and continually monitor your accounts for suspicious activity. By following these steps, you can greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim of credit card fraud!

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