People all over the world, including in the United Arab Emirates, now prefer to keep a credit card in their wallet over physical money, with the great majority of payments now being made with either a debit or credit card.
However, while using such cards is often undeniably much more convenient, there are a number of risks that should be taken into account by people who prefer to swipe when paying for their goods and services.
A card that is misused when it fails to arrive in the mail or that is actually stolen from your person are obvious dangers that the great majority of people in the UAE are probably already aware of, but there are actually a number of other risks associated with credit cards that may be somewhat less obvious.
One such risk is the skimming of credit cards, which is when criminals succeed in getting hold of private information about a credit card when it is used in a seemingly ordinary transaction.
A wide array of schemes are used by scammers to try to trick people into giving them their credit card information, including using fake websites that purport to be that of a bank or some other form of payment system, or telephone phishing, in which a fraudulent call centre pretends to have an association with a legitimate banking organisation, all of which can result in identity theft.
Another risk can be repeat billing, where a cardholder expects a charge from a vendor to be just for the one time, but actually ends up being multiple charges over a period of time, such as every year or every month, until the card reaches its expiration date.
There are many other threats that people in the UAE with credit cards need to be on guard against, but the good news is that the great majority of them can be averted if the card is not used at particular places.
It is easy to tell if a website is not secure, as it won’t have the green lock icon that is always present on the URL of a website that is secure.
This method is still not completely safe, however, and you should also avoid URLs that redirect to another site.
It is also important to keep an eye out for fake websites that try to copy the appearance of legitimate shopping sites to fool the unwary – look at the URL of the site, and if it does not match the name that the site is showing, then it is probably a scam site.
Before you type out your credit card details on any site, you should do a bit of research and manually type the website address that you wish to go to in the address bar.
If you are planning to leave the UAE in order to travel overseas, it is not a good idea to use your credit card in a foreign country, not just because of the chances of being targeted by card skimmers, but also because the charges of using the card in a foreign country are often very steep.