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10 ways to keep your money safe from fraudsters

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

In 2018, a 62-year-old man received a call from a scammer who pretended to be a bank officer. The scammer told him that he had overdue payments on his credit card.

After a lengthy exchange, the 62-year-old man was convinced he owed RM95,000 to the bank and went on to transfer the funds to the scammer's account.

It was all too late when the man decided to check with the bank to see if he really did owe the bank money and soon realised that he'd been a victim of fraud.

You might blame the victim for not being smart about the situation or think that only the elderly will be affected by this. But the reality is that anyone can become a victim of fraud.

In fact, a survey found that millennials (born in the year of 1981 to 1996) are 6 times more likely to give out credit card information to a scammer over the phone.

Millennials aren't taught good habits when it comes to sharing their personal information. They are used to sharing sensitive information about themselves all over the internet. So, when they are asked questions about their personal information, millennials are less likely to question back.

How does credit card fraud happen? 🤷‍♀️

Fraudsters are sneaky and they've come up with many ways to steal your hard-earned money. These are 5 common ways how credit card fraud may happen:

  1. Theft - someone steals your debit or credit card.

  2. Phone and SMS scams – you could get a call or SMS from someone pretending to be a BigPay staff, Bank Negara Malaysia or someone you can trust, who then misleads you into giving away important information.

  3. Phishing – you receive fake emails or access suspicious websites that trick you into entering personal data or credit card details.

  4. Hacking – your phone or computer gets infected with virus or malware that sends your personal information including credit card details to the hacker.

  5. Data breach – hackers steal data from a company where you’re a customer.

How can you protect yourself from credit card fraud? 👊

Here are 10 steps you can take today to reduce your risk of credit card fraud:

1. Keep your credit and debit cards safe

One of the simplest ways to avoid card fraud is by keeping your wallet safe from thieves. Keep your wallet close to you at all times where it can't easily be snatched away.

Thieves can also take pictures of your payment card details with a camera or mobile phone, so don't leave your card details exposed. And, only carry the cards you actually need and use.

2. Do not share your personal information over the phone or SMS

Fraudsters are crafty and always looking for new ways to scam you.

You could get a call or SMS from someone pretending to be a BigPay staff, Bank Negara Malaysia or someone you can trust, who then misleads you into giving away important information. If this happens to you...

  • Do not respond if someone asks you to confirm your CVV on the back of the card (the last three digits on the back of the card) or OTP/TAC for any reason. End the call immediately.

  • Do not respond to fake emails or SMS from suspicious links or unknown senders seeking personal information.

  • Do not respond to a request seeking for you to validate or verify your personal information or details of any transaction.

  • When in doubt, contact your card issuer to confirm. If you're a BigPay user, chat with us in app.

3. Keep your data off the web

We know it's convenient to save your card details and auto-populate them when you shop online for faster checkouts. However, this could expose you to fraud.

One of the biggest mistake people do when using free public Wi-Fi hotspots is accessing their bank accounts or enter confidential information. Hackers can easily capture your personal information over a public network so you should limit your browsing activity.

4. Create strong passwords

Having a strong password can mean the difference between keeping your financial accounts secure and living a life of regret.

According to CNN, "the number one way hackers get into protected systems isn’t through a fancy technical exploit. It’s by guessing the password." It's definitely worth making your password longer and more complex.

For added security, you should have different passwords for everything so that if one of your account gets compromised, your other assets are secure.

Pro tip: You can easily change the PIN number of your BigPay card directly in the app (Card > Pin settings) anytime and anywhere.

5. Track and review your transactions regularly

It’s important to regularly review your transactions and your financial statements to look out for purchases you don’t recognise.

The BigPay app notifies you of new transactions instantly, so if you spot any suspicious transaction you should report to us immediately!

6. Shop online from secure sites

Online shopping scams are at an all-time high. Scammers are constantly creating fake websites that look very identical to the real websites. It's difficult to distinguish at times to the untrained eye.

Here are suspicious signs you should watch out for:

  • Websites that have a wrong url.

  • Check connection security indicators - web addresses that begin with https indicate the site is secure.

  • Spelling errors or a different logo - be wary of websites that have excessive spelling and grammar error; good websites take pride in themselves.

  • Websites that wants your confidential information.

Can you spot what's wrong with the website below?

Source: The SSL Store

7. Make sure your card is always within your sight while making a transaction

You should pay attention to how the cashier handles your card. If your card is taken out of sight, you should request the cashier to run your card through the machine in front of you. This makes sure that they don't snap a picture of your card or run it through a different machine.

Also, check that that it's your card and not someone else's that is returned to you immediately after you have swiped it.

8. Update your devices and apps regularly

You could be putting your finances at risk if your devices and apps are not up-to-date with the latest security features. Make sure that you allow important apps and software to update automatically.

Do yourself a favour now and update the BigPay app if you haven't already. On top of added security features, you've also been missing out on the all-new analytics.

9. Redirect your mail when you move or go digital

Inform all relevant parties (your bank, utility company, etc) of your new address when you move. If your mail is sent to an old address, a stranger could get important data about you from your bank statement or utility bills. This increases your risk of identity theft.

Most companies now offer digital or electronic receipts, opt for those and save the environment while you're at it.

10. Never post pictures of your card details on social media

Avoid posting personal information on social media or the internet especially pictures of your credit or debit card!

We know that the BigPay card is pretty and you want to show it off to your Instagram followers but please make sure you censor your card details first before posting.

What to do if you suspect you're a victim of fraud? 😨

First of all, don’t panic... here's what you should do if you find a suspicious transaction on your bank account.

  • Contact the card issuing company immediately. If you’re a BigPay user, temporarily freeze your card and chat with us in-app!

  • If you've lost or your card got stolen, report it immediately and file a police report.

  • Closely monitor all other account activity and transactions. If you notice further signs of fraud, contact your bank or BigPay immediately.

Are you sure it's fraud? 🤔

Sometimes you might confuse legitimate transactions as fraud...

  • Confusing merchant or transaction names on your financial statement - this happens because the company's registered name might be different from their brand name. For instance, purchases from Roaming Man will appear on BigPay as 'Ucloudlink’.

  • Pre-authorised hold - if you use your card at a self-service pump in a petrol station, a temporary hold of RM200 will be charged on your BigPay card. Rest assured, the amount will be refunded back to your account within 3 to 4 business days. The same might apply for hotel bookings and car rentals too.

Nevertheless, if you're uncertain about any transaction, contact BigPay or the card issuing company immediately.

We want to hear from you 🎙

Now that you know how credit card fraud happens and what you can do to keep your money safe, we want to hear your credit card fraud stories.

Have you ever been a fraud victim? How did it happen? And what did you do about it? Share your stories below so we can all learn from them.

And speaking about protecting yourself, read up on our guide on how to protect yourself from the worst-case scenario.