Credit card fraud has increased during coronavirus pandemic

In 2019, there were 270,000 reported cases of credit card fraud, making it the most common type of identity theft.

This figure is already rising fast, with the number of cases doubling between 2017 and 2019. And now, in the pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in scammers using stolen cards.

Despite consumers using their credit cards less in recent months, fraud-monitoring firm Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) has reported that the number of attempted fraudulent transactions rose 35% in April 2020. It’s predicted that this trend will continue.

Furthermore, a report in The Wall Street Journal has shown that this has hit consumers hard, as well as having a negative financial impact on many lenders.

The changing marketplace

In an FIS survey of 1000 consumers, it was discovered that, during the pandemic, there have been changes to consumer behavior in banking and paying for goods.

The biggest change is the speeding up of digital transformation in the banking and commerce industries. It’s likely that these changes will be long-term, rather than temporary, and this means companies and consumers will need to adjust accordingly.

Capital One says this might be helpful in cutting financial fraud. However, it will have to invest in getting some groups comfortable with online banking – especially senior customers.

Online banking security has improved a lot in the last few years and, luckily, most banks’ systems have been able to block major fraud attempts. But, it’s important consumers stay vigilant as fraudsters try to steal credit cards and personal data.

How can consumers protect themselves?

It’s strongly advised that consumers are aware of the risks and are careful. One of the most common scams right now involves phone calls, emails, or social media posts asking consumers to verify their personal information.

Also, there are emails circulating offering financial help with Covid-19 challenges – these are mostly fraudulent.

Consumers can minimize the risks by:

  • Avoiding clicking links on emails
  • Being cautious of email attachments
  • Only using trusted sources for the latest Covid-19 information
  • Not giving out personal or financial details by email or phone
  • Reviewing CISA Insights on Risk Management for COVID-19

The ITRC advises, “Under no circumstances should consumers click on any links or open any attachments from unanticipated emails or texts. COVID-19 scams via phishing emails are going around right now attacking both businesses and consumers.”

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