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CCAP warns public on rising cases of credit card fraud

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Shares useful tips to avoid credit card phishing scam

In photo: Credit Card Association Philippines warns the public about the rising cases of credit card fraud

By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

Since the time of the pandemic, the inevitable dependence of the people in using the technology for various transactions grows by leaps and bounds. But coupled with the growth is the danger of accelerated cybersecurity attacked that made many users vulnerable.

Such was the case with a high-ranking government official’s recent experience, where a hacker used his card to purchase a million pesos worth of food via a food delivery service. Similarly, a credit card phishing scam was investigated late last year in Cebu city, wherein the credit card information of a 53-year-old businesswoman was stolen and used to purchase medicine from a networking group. 

These incidents are alarming, but not surprising, as the higher dependence of Filipinos on digital transactions makes it easier for fraudsters and scammers to find targets, especially among those who are new to the virtual space. 

Rising fraud in the cyberspace

According to the Credit Card Association Philippines (CCAP), the pandemic caused payments to shift from card-present (CP) or face-to-face transactions to card-not-present (CNP), such as remote payments and other digital payments. This saw a significant increase in CNP fraud during the pandemic, being 29% higher from April to November of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. 

“Fraud happens more often in cyberspace, given that it is easier to facilitate there. It does away with the need to secure a physical card, and more importantly, it is a safer option for the fraudsters because of the anonymity that the internet provides,” said Alex Ilagan, Executive Director of CCAP. 

Prevalent types of fraud

One type of fraud that is prevalent in the new normal is called an account takeover. This involves acquiring a physical card or its details along with the cardholder’s one-time-password (OTP) to complete online transactions. Scammers and fraudsters normally use social engineering to deceive cardholders into giving sensitive personal information and card details. These fraudsters usually pretend to be representatives of a bank, phone company, or even from a government agency. 

The growth of digital transactions have also contributed to the rise of phishing scams. One of the most popular phishing techniques is sending an email that looks like it came from the cardholder’s bank. These emails have subjects ranging from a new device log-in to a credit card upgrade, and their goal is to attain the cardholder’s card details and online banking credentials. Through the years, phishing emails have gotten more sophisticated, leading online users to continuously fall victim to them even if this type of fraudulent activity has been around for quite some time now. 

Avoiding fraud in 2021

Avoiding fraud in 2021CCAP and its partner banks have been working even harder in the new normal to educate cardholders about the current kinds of fraud, and how to avoid them. CCAP frequently shares simple but useful reminders to cardholders on their social media accounts, such as reviewing bank transactions regularly, being wary of which websites cardholders use their cards on, and other credit card fraud prevention tips.

CCAP also played a role in launching the Scam Proof website last year. Scam Proof is an online platform where cardholders can discover the different forms of fraud, learn about securing their accounts, and even talk about instances wherein they were scammed. Metrobank headed this initiative with the support of banks such as the Philippine Savings Bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Citibank, and BDO Unibank, Inc.

More than just educating them, CCAP and banks do their best to protect cardholders through various authentication processes. “The banking industry has established a process to make each transaction as safe and seamless as it can be. Multi-factor authentication has become the standard authentication. During transactions, the authentication process also kicks-in. Certain profiles, patterns, and behavior are continuously checked so customers can have a secure and worry-free banking experience,” Ilagan shared.

Despite all this, cardholders must remember that protecting their accounts is a partnership that they have with their banks. They must do their share in avoiding credit card fraud, and it starts with simple things such as never sharing their account details through messaging apps and social media, as these could be used by hackers and fraudsters. Writing PINs and passwords is also discouraged, as they can fall onto the wrong hands. Cardholders who stay up to date on the latest types of fraud are also at an advantage, as being aware makes it easier to spot any suspicious activity be it through emails, calls, or other channels.

The best advice for cardholders to avoid fraud? “Never share your credit card details, PIN, card security code, or online banking credentials with anyone. Banks will never ask cardholders to disclose these details. Additionally, If you ever receive a notification on suspicious activity, or are in doubt of whether or not you may have accidentally shared your banking details with anyone, call your bank immediately,” Ilagan stressed.

For more information on credit card fraud and the ways to prevent it, you may visit CCAP’s website.

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