Imagine it’s the first day of school, and we’re handing you a pop quiz. How would you rate your knowledge of credit and debit card scams? Are you more on the “I got this” end of things – or “I’m totally lost”? Either way, there are likely types of scams you might not become aware of until it’s too late.

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It’s always a good idea to educate yourself about them, and we’re here to help. Below, we’ll cover common forms of debit and credit card scams and help get you on your way to an A+ in scam prevention.

Public Wi-Fi Scams

The public Wi-Fi scam, or hotspot scam, is a common method of card fraud. Hackers use unsecured networks to gain access to devices and steal data, including card and account  information.

Some criminals create false Wi-Fi signals with embedded tracers that can record card details while unsuspecting users enter personal data on their devices. In another variation of this scam, a criminal creates hotspots that prompt internet users to submit their card credentials before gaining access.

Here’s a real-life example. In April 2022, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody warned people not to file taxes while on unsecured public Wi-Fi connections. Scammers often wait for people to enter sensitive information using unsecured Wi-Fi networks (even at home) and intercept the data.

Don’t fall for this scam. Instead:

  • Install high-level antivirus software on your devices and use a VPN (virtual private network). If you need to use public Wi-Fi, ask a staff member at your location for the correct login credentials rather than joining any open WiFi networks.
  • Never submit your credit card details to gain access to unsecured Wi-Fi.
Skimming and Shimming Scams

In these scams, fraudsters install skimming devices on or inside card payment terminals and card readers, which collect card data. Known targets for this scam include gas pumps and automated teller machines (ATMs).

Over the last few years, card companies have installed Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) chips in the card to prevent physical card scans. However, card skimming remains one of the most common card scams. According to the FBI, skimming costs financial institutions and consumers over $1 billion every year.

Don’t fall for this scam. Instead:

  • Look for signs of tampering or misuse whenever you use your card at a shop or ATM.
  • Warn employees at the location if you suspect the presence of a skimmer, especially on any external units that aren’t under the watch of company staff (like a gas station pump).
  • Your chances of avoiding this scam improve if you switch to contactless or mobile app payments.
Overcharge Scams That Ask to “Verify” Your Card Numbers

In an overcharge scam, fraudsters send emails or make phone calls notifying you about an overpayment on your credit account. But to access your refund, you first need to “verify” your card numbers. In reality, there is no overcharge, and any attempt to verify will send your credit data to a scammer.

Don’t fall for this scam. Instead:

  • Do not give any sensitive information over the phone to unsolicited callers.
  • If you suspect an overpayment scam, hang up immediately, notify your card issuer, and monitor your statements for suspicious activity.
Phishing Scams Asking for Payment or Card Details

A phishing scam is a type of social engineering scheme in which thieves contact victims through emails, text messages, or phone calls. Fraudsters will often pose as well-known banks, businesses, agencies, or organizations in an attempt to build trust before defrauding victims of sensitive or valuable information.

For example, someone claiming to be from your bank might call to “warn” you that your card numbers have been compromised. They’ll use urgent or threatening language to get you to provide them with your card number, expiration date, or three digit code on the back and other sensitive information they can use for fraud.

Don’t fall for this scam. Instead:

  • If you receive unexpected communication from someone with urgent demands for money or credit card payments, say “no.”
  • Never click on any links or download attachments in emails from unknown senders.
  • Never provide your card information for a request that you did not initiate.
What To Do if You’re the Victim of a Scam

If you think you’ve become the victim of a credit or debit card scam, act fast to help limit financial damage. Take the following steps to protect your personal information:

  1. Get a new card.
  2. Request a free credit report.
  3. Report the scam to authorities.
  • Submit a report to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online.
  • For additional support, contact the FTC at their Identity Theft Hotline: 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338)
  • FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center (ic2.gov)
  1. Create new secure passwords.
  2. Dispute fraudulent charges.
  3. Regularly check your credit report and bank statements.

And, don’t forget to reach out to a representative at Arvest Bank. It’s our goal to help you prevent fraudulent activity and protect the financial assets of you and your family.