Three Tips to Prevent Credit Card Fraud
More and more, credit card fraud is becoming an issue for card holders. With the increasing number of cards being used, as well as increased efforts by those trying to defraud or steal credit card information, protecting your card information has become paramount. According to Discover, over a quarter million Americans experience some form of credit card fraud or identity theft annually. However, certain steps can be taken that deter credit card fraud and identity theft. Here are three easy tips:
1) Keep your cards safe
While this may seem like a no brainer, the majority of credit card fraud comes from stolen credit cards- either the number or the physical card. If you go to a restaurant and use your credit card, always make sure you leave with your credit card. After the card is run, it can be very easy to leave your card on site (especially if you are in a hurry).
Unfortunately, diligence does not always prevent your card from being stolen. Make sure to carry a light wallet, preferably in your front pocket. If you prefer to keep your wallet in your back pocket, make sure your wallet is secure. For those who carry their wallet in a purse, make sure your purse is adequately zipped. And of course- carry only the cards you will need that day.
2) Avoid using your credit card on public wi-fi networks
A safe rule of thumb for using the internet- if you didn’t need a password to access wi-fi, then neither do those with nefarious intentions. Unless a network or website is secure, do not use your credit card. Open wi-fi networks are easier for hackers to intercept transactions and gather the necessary information to use your credit card. These are called “man in the middle” ploys and they are far more common than one would imagine. Do not pay your bills online using a credit card on an insecure network or check your credit card statements. If you prefer to online shop (which most do), it is far safer to shop from your own home on a password protected wi-fi connection.
Online bill pay can be an efficient and simple way to pay your bills. Make sure you are not paying your bills with a credit card on an public wi-fi connection. In general, it is safer to have an automatic draft set up with a card than to pay it month to month online.
3) Save your receipts and Check your monthly statements
Often times, credit card fraud can go undetected. The easiest way to ensure your card is not being used fraudulently is to save your receipts and compare your receipts to your monthly credit card statements. If you see any unusual charges, do not wait. Contact your credit card company immediately. After comparing, shred all of your statements. It is not beneath those trying to steal credit card or identity information to dig through the trash.
In summary, using these three tips will not entirely prevent the possibility of fraud, but will greatly limit the access that those attempting fraud have to your information. Don’t let yourself be one of a quarter million who will have their credit card information stolen in 2016.