One of the many benefits of using a credit card is that it’s safer than carrying cash around. However, using a credit card is not without its fair share of risks. As credit cards have become more commonplace, so have the scams.

Here’s a look at some of the more common credit card scams and how to avoid them.


Phishing is one of the most widespread of all credit card scams. Here the scammer sends an email to a consumer alerting them to a suspicious transaction on their account. They then advise the consumer to click the link provided so they can look into the suspicious transaction. Or they may inform the consumer that their account is temporarily blocked for some reason. They then need to click the link to confirm their identity. The email is cloned to look similar to the email sent out by the real credit card issuer. Once the customer clicks the link and provides the details asked for, the scammer has the information they need to hack into the account. Identity theft often results from phishing.

Phishing can also be carried out by phone. The scammer calls the consumer asking for their card number and other personal information. This is then used to break into the account and use it fraudulently.

How to avoid phishing scams: 

When you receive an email from your credit card company informing you about a problem, don’t rush into clicking the link. Take a look at the email more closely. Does it address you by your name or as “˜dear customer’? Credit card companies always address customers by their name. If the email doesn’t address you by name, don’t click the link. Instead, forward the mail to your credit card company and report the scam. If you aren’t sure if the mail is genuine, call your bank or credit card company to confirm whether there is a problem with your account.

Text Alerts

A text alert works similar to phishing. The scammer sends an emergency text to the consumer’s cell phone, reporting a suspicious transaction or some other problem with the account. Resolving the problem requires the consumer to reply sending their 3-digit security number on the back of the card. This gives the scammer the information they need to get into the account and use it as they wish.

How to avoid text alert scams

Credit card companies never ask consumers to send their 3-digit security number. They would never need it under any circumstance. Never reply to any text asking you to send any information about your credit card. Delete the text and call the credit card company to verify that your account is okay.

Misleading Advertisements

Credit card companies various media channels to promote their products. This could be through TV, print or internet ads. Scammers do the same. The only difference is they make their cards incredibly easy to qualify for. This is accompanied by the promise of rock bottom rates, higher credit limits, or zero fees. Individuals who apply find themselves victims of identity theft. The scammer uses the information to open accounts or take loans against your name leaving you paying the price.

How to avoid misleading advertisement scams:

If something seems to be too good to be true it usually is. Don’t get taken in by overly generous benefits and low qualifying criteria. Be especially careful if you were turned down by major credit card companies. Although requirements vary, most credit card issuers have almost similar eligibility criteria. A huge difference is usually a sign of a scam.

A Promise To Repair Bad Credit

Bad credit can be a major obstacle to being approved for low cost loans or credit cards. Consumers with bad credit are often desperate and will do anything to improve their score. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to bad credit. It takes several months of consistent payments to repair bad credit. Moreover, no one else but yourself can improve your credit history. Neither can anyone remove negative credit information from another person’s report.

How to avoid scams related to repairing bad credit:

Ignore any emails, texts or advertisements promising to repair bad credit. Nobody can tamper with your credit report and trying to do so is illegal according to the Federal Trade Commission. If you find any inaccurate negative information on your report, you can raise a dispute directly with the credit bureau. They are legally required to investigate the inaccuracy and notify you about their findings. If the information is found to be accurate, they will correct it and recalculate your score and repair your credit score. This is the only legal route to repairing bad credit.

Fake Trial Offers

The fake trial offer scam is so subtle, it’s no surprise that so many people fall prey to it. The scammer offers consumers a free trial of their very attractive credit card. Buried in the fine print is a condition that the consumer must cancel the card before the renewal period. If they don’t they will be charged the annual fee after the trial period ends. It seems like a risk-free offer, which is appealing to many consumers who overlook the fine print. This ends up being an expensive mistake as the charges for the extension usually cannot be reversed.

How to avoid fake trial offer scams:

Always investigate the company thoroughly before signing on for a trial offer. If you do ahead and sign up, make sure to keep a reminder to cancel before the trial period ends. If you find you cannot cancel, call the company. Call the Better Business Bureau if you can’t cancel and can’t get through to the company either.

There are several warning signs about potential credit card scams. The best way to steer clear of being scammed is by always doing your due diligence and employing safe practices. If anything seems the least bit suspicious, do your research to verify the authenticity of the offer. If you can’t, it’s best not to engage further.