Tag: credit cards

The Lower Credit Card Interest Rate Scam

This scam is usually by phone – you may get a call from a person but quite often it’s from a robo caller i.e. a computer randomly dialling numbers and playing a recorded message asking you to call them.

This is a well organised and determined scam operation by criminals – do not be taken in by anything they claim.

The caller or robo caller message claims to be able to reduce your credit card debt payments as they can negotiate lower interest rates with your credit company.

There is no truth to this.

The scammers want you to pay them in advance then typically disappear without making any attempt on your behalf.

The companies behind the sales pitches claim to have special relationships with credit card issuers. They guarantee that the reduced rates they offer will save you thousands of dollars in interest and finance charges, and will allow you to pay off your credit card debt three to five times faster. They claim that the lower interest rates are available for a limited time and that you need to act now. Some even use money-back guarantees as further enticement.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says that the companies behind these robocalls can’t do anything for you that you can’t do for yourself — for free. You have just as much clout with your credit card issuer as these companies. Indeed, FTC investigators found that people who pay for these services don’t get the touted interest rate reductions, don’t save the promised amounts, don’t pay off their credit card debt three to five times faster, and struggle to get refunds.

The FTC says that if you’re looking to reduce the interest rate you’re paying on your credit card purchases, your best bet is to handle it yourself for free: call the customer service phone number on the back of your credit card and ask for a reduced rate. Be calm, patient and persistent and you might be rewarded.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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What is Card Skimming

Card skimming is where criminals use a small device (called a skimmer) to steal payment card information in an otherwise legitimate credit or debit card transaction. When a payment card is swiped through a skimmer, the device captures and stores all the details stored in the card’s magnetic stripe which contains the card number, expiration date and the card holder’s full name. Thieves use the stolen data to make purchases online or make counterfeit cards or sell to other criminals.

Card skimmers can be placed over almost any type of card reader but are most often placed over the card entry mechanism on ATMs and petrol stations. The criminals may also place a tiny camera above the keypad to record you entering your PIN. This gives the thief all the information needed to make fake cards and withdraw money from  your account.

Sometimes retail and restaurant workers who handle payment cards are recruited to be part of a skimming ring. These workers use a handheld device to skim your card during a normal transaction. For example when you hand your card over to the waiter to pay your bill – the waiter disappears and returns with your receipt but has also passed your card through a skimmer.

Once the victim’s card information is stolen, thieves will either create cloned card to make purchases in store or online or sell the information or fake cards on the dark web. Victims of credit card skimming are often unaware of the theft until they notice unauthorized charges on their account, have their card unexpectedly declined, or receive an overdraft notification from the bank or warnings about a loan in their name that they didn’t take out.

How to Spot a Card Skimmer at an ATM

Card skimming devices are made to look as if part of the ATM it’s placed on.

Look out for :-

  • A card reader that sticks out far past the panel. Skimmers are designed to fit over the existing credit card reader.
  • A keypad that’s thicker than normal (there may be a fake one on top of the original)
  • If the keys seem hard to push, eject your card and use another ATM.


Watch where you shop and keep hold of your cards at all times. Do not let waiters or retail staff wander off with your card to process your payment.

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