Have you ever noticed that little black strip on the back of your credit card? That’s the part of your card that magnetic readers use to access your account information, allowing you to make purchases with a simple swipe. The information that’s stored on that little magnetic strip includes your name, credit card number and even the card’s expiration date. If this information were to fall into the wrong hands, you could easily end up paying for somebody else’s shopping spree. If an installment loan is all that’s holding your finances together, it’s crucial that you understand what credit card dumping is, how it works and more importantly, what you can do to protect yourself from it.
Credit card dumping happens when a criminal places a credit card skimmer over a legitimate card reader to steal your credit card information without you even realizing it. That black strip on the back of your credit card carries 3 important pieces of information you don’t want anyone else to have. This includes your name, credit card number, your card’s expiration date and even loyalty reward information. When this information is read by a skimmer, it’s sent directly to criminals who then use this information against you. They may use it to make illegal copies of your credit card for their own use or sell them online to other criminals.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know if your information has been compromised in a credit card dump until it’s too late, but it’s not all bad news. If you see a charge on your account that you didn’t make, contact your bank or credit card company immediately to dispute it. In most cases, your bank or creditor will side with you on the matter. They can reverse the damage by refunding your money and sending you a new card. Fortunately, banks have become masters at tracking down and stopping suspicious purchases. If a charge appears on your account that doesn’t fall in line with your normal spending patterns, the bank will decline the transaction and contact you right away. That’s not to say that some illegal charges don’t slip through the cracks. That said, it’s wise to consistently check your account balances for any unrecognizable charges.
The credit card industry has already taken many precautions to prevent your information from being stolen. All debit and credit cards now come with a small chip implanted in them. This new chip is heavily encrypted making it incredibly difficult to hack. Because of this new added security, swiping is quickly becoming a thing of the past as the chip becomes the newer and safer way to pay. Even so, the best way to protect yourself from credit card dumping is to be careful where you use your credit or debit card. If a credit card reader looks suspicious or unfamiliar, don’t use it. Try paying with cash instead.