In a credit card email scam, you receive an email that appears to be from your credit card company. The email reports a theft or other problem with your account and instructs you to click on a link to access your account. Once you click on the link you're taken to a site that looks like your credit card issuer's website. If you enter your login details, the thief has captured your login information and may use it to get access to your account. (Some emails direct you to call a customer service number listed in the email.)
How to Avoid Credit Card Email Scams
Avoiding credit card email scams is relatively easy. Don't click on links inside emails, no matter how urgent the email seems even if they appear to be legitimate emails. Instead, if you suspect there's a problem with your account, go directly to your creditor's website to access your account. If you accidentally click a link from a credit card email scam, don't enter your login information on the website, even if it looks just like the creditor's real website. Close the internet browser and clear your cookies to prevent the scammer from getting access to your account.
If You've Already Taken the Bait...
If you mistakenly enter personal information on a scammer's site, leave immediately. Visit the credit card's real website to change your login information. If you use the same username or password for other websites, change those logins, too. Thieves will often try the same username and password on multiple accounts, knowing that people often use the same details on multiple websites.
Let your creditor know you accidentally entered your information into a scammer's website. You may be asked for the website or a copy of the email.
Watch your credit card statement closely and let your creditor know if you see any unauthorized charges. Under federal law, you won't be liable for charges made with stolen credit card information (vs. a physically stolen credit card).