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How to detect and prevent credit card fraud

It is known that, nowadays, there are more frauds on the Internet than in everyday situations, but the truth is that these also happen very often.

Financial institutions continually develop new technologies to protect their customers from this type of crime, however, the best way to avoid credit card fraud it means being alert to the signs and adopting safety procedures in the operations you carry out with your customers.

Credit card fraud installed in ATMs

It looks like a movie scene, but in fact there are many credit card frauds that are detected in ATMs. In those cases, it doesn’t matter why you use the machine, so fraud can happen at any time.

The most common way is to place readers that copy card data inside the ATM box. Most of the time (not to say “all the time”), users have no idea what is about to happen.

In the same way that these readers are placed in conventional machines, they are also placed in payment terminals that are available at any point of sale (although this is a rarer situation).

How do these scams happen?

The magnetic stripes present on each card are the component from which the frauds are made. It is true that, with the emergence of chip cards, greater control was expected, but the truth is that the bandwidth was never eliminated.

Now, it is on this band that all the information on the card owner and, consequently, on the account itself are “read”. In addition to data such as name and address, the account number is also stolen.

The hypothesis of the total elimination of the magnetic strip has already been raised several times, but the truth is that, until today, this has not happened.

How to identify fraud?

Let’s be frank: it is practically impossible to notice the presence of a reader like the one described in an ATM, this is because it is usually placed inside the machine, so that no one notices any anomaly.

This reader can be placed inside the machine’s main reader (where the card is placed) or, alternatively, replace the original without the user identifying what happened.

However, what usually happens is that the fraudulent reader is placed very “on top” of the machine’s indications, which indicate where to insert the card.

Generally, there is more space between the reader and said indication, so if both are very close, it is cause for alarm. This is, therefore, one of the signs that you should pay special attention to in order to avoid fraud with your credit card.

What can also indicate that you are about to use a “fraudulent machine” is the stability of the machine itself, as well as that of its components. Therefore, you can (and should) shake everything you find at the ATM.

Force the movement as hard as you can, because in a safe machine nothing will move. When there are fraudulent readers, they are slightly loose, denouncing their presence more easily.

Also note the color of the card reader. If it seems too different and, shall we say, out of context, it is most likely hiding a credit card fraud reader.

There’s more than just readers

The truth is that all care is little. When using an ATM, you must make sure that you go through all the steps with the utmost security, because fraud does not end with placing the aforementioned readers.

Once all the information on the card has been read, it is necessary to know how to access the respective account and withdraw the money present there. There is no data on the magnetic strip, such as the PIN number.

There are times when, in addition to readers, there are also cameras installed. They can be either on top of the machine or on the roof of the building, depending on each space.

That camera can also be built into the screen, which means that it is recording everything you do on the machine itself. Be as attentive as possible in order to prevent these frauds from happening with your credit card.

internet fraud

Internet frauds, such as those that happen on Facebook, are even more common, given the ease with which, nowadays, personal data is stolen from people who are simply surfing the Internet.

One of the solutions that avoid these episodes is the use of virtual credit cards where you only put the amount of money that you are going to use, for example, in a purchase online🇧🇷

Likewise, you can use MB Way where you can better control your money, not needing, most of the time, to use any card to move money.

5 tips to avoid credit card fraud

There are still some basic security procedures that you can adopt:


Regularly look at your card statement

Many banks offer you to check your account in real time. Make use of the functionality and check if there are any payments or transfers that you did not authorize. If you notice anything unusual, contact your bank immediately and request the cancellation of the undue transactions.


Register your credit and debit card numbers

As well as the phone numbers needed to report the loss or theft of the cards. If something unforeseen happens to you, you can immediately report the situation to the financial institution that issued your card.


Never leave your card as a guarantee for anything

Nor lend it to third parties. Also keep all receipts for purchases made with your credit card, do not leave them at ATMs, supermarkets or petrol stations.


Never give your credit card details to third parties

Much less enter your credit card number to make online payments on unreliable sites. To carry out these operations, create a virtual card, whose codes are used in a single operation, through safer procedures.


Be careful when using the card in public places

Pay special attention when you are in a public place where you have to give your credit card number out loud, such as at airports.

Be equally alert when using ATM machines or payment terminals. If you find suspicious signs that the equipment may have been tampered with, choose not to use it.

Article originally published in October 2019. Updated in December 2022.

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