Credit-Card Scam in Malls Bared; 9 Ways to Protect Yourself

They usually approach you in shopping malls and ask you if you already have a credit card. If you tell them that you don’t have one, they would then shove a paper in your hand, asking you to fill it up so you can enjoy the benefit of having a credit card. The banks have been increasingly using such a marketing tactic to encourage people to sign up for credit cards, which perhaps partly explains the explosion of credit-card use in the Philippines.

But the next time one of these agents approach you, know this: a scam may have developed out of this aggressive marketing strategy by the banks.

According to this report in the Inquirer, the National Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether these sales agents provide personal information gathered from such forms to credit-card fraud syndicates. This after a woman complained that another person applied a credit card using her identity.

Here are several things to keep in mind to protect yourself from identity theft and credit-card fraud:

1) If you must apply for a credit card, do it personally at the bank or on the bank’s website.

2) We Filipinos often give out personal information carelessly, like when we fill up raffle forms, etc. Do not give out personal information such a date of birth, your mother’s maiden name, your SSS number, your TIN, etc. unless you absolutely have to. Keep in mind that often, when you call up your bank, all they need to verify that it’s really you is any two of these bits of information.

3) Do not just throw away your old credit-card receipts and bank or financial records. Burn them if you can or soak them wet, but don’t just throw them in the trash. A bit paranoid, you might think, but we’re talking about your money in the bank.

4) Check your statement of account regularly. If a purchase is listed there that you did not make, verify with the bank immediately.

5) If someone calls you asking information about your account, do not give it out immediately. Verify whether the caller is indeed from the bank. Ask him to give you a number that you can call and the name of his supervisor. Then call that number. This may be cumbersome but, since we’re talking about your life savings, it should be worth the trouble. If he can’t, tell him that you’d just go to a branch to give the information he wanted.

6) Avoid using your credit card in places (restaurants, etc.) where you cannot see the cashier who is processing your card or the waiter that just took your card. There have been reports of establishments swiping your card on gadgets to steal the card’s data.

7) If you buy stuff online regularly, try to have a separate card for such purchases, one that has a lower credit limit. Or use a debit-card (such as Unionbank’s Eon) with a limited amount in it. Or use PayPal.

8) Never transact on a website whose URL does not have the https prefix. The “S” stands for secured.

9) Banks and financial institutions do not, as a rule, solicit personal information via email. If you received an email that asks you to update your account by logging on to a website, it’s a phishing email and you should never, under any circumstances, click it or log on to the website. Delete the email immediately. (CC Hidalgo/ (PinoyPress)

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