While online shopping has revolutionized how we buy everything from groceries to the latest shoes, it requires handing over your vital credit card information with every purchase. Data breaches have become far too common and it’s important to know how to protect yourself in our ever-growing cyber world. Learn more about how to stay protected from credit card fraud with these tips!
Susceptibility of Fraud
It’s scary to think about, but identity theft can happen to anyone, and certain parts of the country are more prone to credit card fraud and identity theft than others. If your personal information falls into the wrong hands, scammers can use it to take out loans in your name, empty your bank accounts, or even tap into your social security benefits. Resolving these issues is a long and tedious process, so taking caution can save you major headaches should this ever happen to you.
While it may seem obvious to not give a stranger your social security number, being vigilant while online is just as important.
Credit Card Fraud Protection
Many credit cards have visible security measures (like your card number, expiration date, and CVV code) to guide your bank in approving your purchases. Giving your zip code at a kiosk (and certainly when checking out online) is also another example of an authentication method banks use to prevent the wrong people from using your card.
There are also the security measures you can’t see. Banks use sophisticated algorithms and technology to monitor their customers’ spending habits and combat fraud. If they feel a transaction is suspicious, they’ll flag it. Your card being declined on a legitimate transaction can be frustrating. However, the alternative could be much worse!
Credit card fraud is migrating online. Because of the introduction of EMV chips, it’s made it extremely difficult to counterfeit credit cards. The smart chips are like small computers that hold a card’s encrypted data. They are less susceptible to suspicious activity.
Of course, not every website is out to get you. But even reliable companies have had data breaches, so simply trusting a familiar company isn’t enough.
Some ways to avoid fraud when shopping online is to use alternate payment methods such as a mobile wallet like PayPal. Another solution is using a payment app. As mobile shopping grows, more apps allow you to check out on your smartphone using Apple Pay or Venmo where your credit card details are securely stored.
The sooner you catch any type of fraud, the better. It’s in your bank’s best interest to help you uncover anything out of the ordinary.
- Notify your credit card company. They’ll monitor your account, send you a new card with a new account number, and you’ll be exempt from fraudulent charges.
- Notify the banks where your checking and savings accounts are stored. If someone has your personal information, they could potentially tamper with any account or transfer money to another bank.
- If you have a mortgage or investment account, notify those institutions as well. Any company that also has your private details needs to know your personal information may have been stolen.
- Contact a major credit bureau. They’ll put a freeze on your reports and not allow any new accounts to be opened. You should also check your credit reports to make sure all the history is yours.
One useful bit of advice consumers can begin putting into action: never save your payment details online. While a quicker checkout can be tempting, entrusting your details to an online database can increase your overall risk. Credit card fraud is not something you should take lightly, but with a cautious attitude, you’ll never fall prey.
Always shield your PIN – The easiest step you can take to avoid having your PIN stolen is to block your hand typing in the PIN with your other hand. Always assume someone is watching when you enter your PIN.
Check for tampering – Before putting your card into a reader, check it for tampering. Look for anything different or misaligned. If it looks suspicious, do NOT use the machine.