credit card fraud types

Early in 2023, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco revealed that approximately 51% of all retail transactions are via credit and debit card payments. This creates opportunities for criminals to engage in many credit card fraud types.

Drill down further and you’ll see that 65% of credit card holders have been victims of card fraud and about 44% have been victims of multiple fraudulent charges.

Unfortunately, many people don’t report incidents of fraud to law enforcement. It takes charges in the region of $400 for people to report fraudulent activity.

Understanding Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud is a state and federal crime whose victims can be individuals, groups, and businesses. For example, a small business can be ruined by financial losses when fraudsters use fake credit cards to purchase products in bulk.

It’s important to understand what credit card fraud is, how it works, and how card security can prevent you from becoming a victim of credit card theft.

Types of Credit Card Fraud: A Comprehensive Insight

Credit card fraud can be opportunistic, such as when someone swipes the card from an open purse. Fraudsters can use sophisticated technology, such as high-tech skimming devices to steal information and create counterfeit cards.

Another common method is to create legitimate-looking emails and messages to dupe victims into providing account passwords.

Six common types of credit cards frauds include:


Credit card skimming fraud occurs when criminals install card skimming devices at ATMs, handheld payment machines, gas pumps, etc. The devices steal your card’s information on the magnetic strip, which fraudsters then use for online transactions or to create a counterfeit card.


Phishing is one of the oldest methods of credit fraud with the infamous “inheritance” email. You’re informed that a rich uncle has died and left you money in his will. You must provide your bank details for them to make the deposit.

Modern phishing scams are harder to identify. For example, fake bank emails are so good that many people don’t think twice about clicking links in the body of the email. The links take them to legitimate-looking websites where they enter personal details.

Fraudsters use the information for many transactions, including siphoning off money from your bank account into theirs.

Counterfeit Cards

Credit card details are stolen and used to create counterfeit cards. Information is obtained via skimming or when someone takes your card away to process a transaction and copies the number which is used for fraudulent purchases.

The cards are usually used for a few fraudulent transactions before they’re abandoned. This makes it virtually impossible to trace the fraudster.

Identity Theft

Credit card fraud usually involves forms of identity theft. The aim is to capture personal information which criminals use as if they were you.

Fraud doesn’t stop at purchases and other financial transactions. Your personal details are also used to open credit card accounts and apply for loans.

Chargeback Fraud

Chargeback fraud or friendly fraud occurs when consumers dispute credit transactions with their bank rather than the retailer. The transaction is legitimate but they want a refund. They base their claim on defective products, failure to deliver, unauthorized charges, or a canceled order that was charged.

Fake Cards

After scammers obtain your card information, they transfer it to a blank card that has been made to look exactly like the real thing, with the correct printing and embossing. They add a magnetized strip and a brand-new fake card is generated.

Prevention Measures: Tips to Protect Against Credit Card Fraud

You may not be able to completely eliminate the risk of credit card fraud, but there are preventative measures you can take to reduce the chances of becoming a victim. For example, don’t share personal and/or financial information with anyone online, unless you are 100% sure that they’re legitimate.

Four more preventative measures include:

Monitor Your Accounts on a Regular Basis

One of the things that make credit card scams so damaging is that it often goes undetected for a long time. You can minimize damage by checking your credit card statements regularly. Secure banking apps make this easy to do.

Check Your Credit Report and Score Often

Three major consumer reporting companies keep track of your credit score: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You are entitled to one free report from each per year. It’s a good idea to stagger requests to view your credit report; for example, every four months.

You can check your credit rating more often, but you will have to pay a fee of not more than $14.50. There are also free online tools available.

Keeping track of your credit score enables you to spot anomalies, which you can immediately report and investigate. The sooner you take action to limit the damage the better. 

Be Aware of Unusual Activity on Your Statements

You should know what your usual financial transactions are a month. For example, life insurance comes off on the same date every month. You also know which unusual expenses are yours, for example, a vet bill.

So you’ll notice any suspicious activity on your bank statement. Notify your bank immediately to track the transaction.

It’s a good idea to set up account alerts whenever your card is used to make purchases over a certain amount. The alert tells you what to do if you’re not the one transacting so you can take immediate action.

Use Secure Wi-Fi for Online Purchases

It might be convenient to use the free WiFi at a coffee shop, but public connections aren’t protected. They’re perfect for scammers and fraudsters looking for easy targets. Use the WiFi by all means, but don’t purchase anything, and definitely don’t do any banking.

Sensitive transactions are best done on a secure connection at work or home. Just ensure that your WiFi at home is properly protected with a difficult password.

What You Should Do if You are Accused of Credit Card Fraud?

Regardless of whether you committed fraud or not, being accused of credit or debit card fraud can have serious consequences for your financial and employment future. You should never try to dispute the allegations on your own.

Credit card fraud laws are complex and best navigated by a skilled lawyer who specializes in different types of credit card fraud. Your attorney will determine which defense to use and how best to present evidence.

Fraud defense attorneys are skilled negotiators who can weave a compelling case to support your cause. As a result, the case might be dismissed or you could get a favorable plea bargain.

Let LibertyBell Law Group’s Fraud Defense Lawyer Protect Your Rights

We employ a trusted team of fraud attorneys who can present a solid defense to dispute allegations of fraudulent behavior.

The defense comprises an assessment of your case, an investigation to gather evidence in your favor, determine the strengths and weaknesses of the case, and determine the best course of action.

For a free consultation with one of our experts in credit card fraud types, complete the form on our site or contact us at 877-545-3127 at LibertyBell Law Group.

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