Worried about credit card safety? More than ever, identity theft and credit card fraud are on the rise. In this article, we list nine ways to protect yourself from fraudulent credit card activity.
Many of us use our credit cards without thinking twice about the security of our personal information. If you haven’t experienced the distress from credit card fraud, we often presume it could never happen to us.
But the stark reality is, any individual or business that uses a credit card is vulnerable to fraudulent activity. And the situation worsens every year. In 2020, people reported nearly 92,000 cases of identity theft from lost or stolen credit cards. From a money perspective, that equates to 3 billion dollars lost due to card theft.
While these numbers may induce a slight panic, rest assured that there are ways to reduce your risk from these fraudulent activities. Below, we’ve listed our top 9 security measures to protect your credit card information.
Online purchases of materials and goods have reached an all-time high in 2021. After all, online transactions are the most convenient way for businesses to buy supplies.
But not every website you visit has your best interest in mind. Many hackers design websites solely to steal your credit card information and accounts. Untrustworthy sites also come riddled with malware, compromising personal information on your phone or laptop.
Before inputting your credit card information, check if the website is legitimate by looking up reviews online. Additionally, ensure that the site you visit has:
There are multiple ways to prevent someone from stealing your password. As a general rule of thumb, you should always create a complicated password that would be hard for others to guess.
Unfortunately, 81% of stolen passwords and credit card accounts are due to weak password choices. To bypass being a part of that 81%, avoid using passwords that contain your name, birthday or a simple “123”.
Beyond this, you can implement multi-step authentication for better credit card security. Multi-step authentication adds an extra security layer by requiring a security question or one-time code. These elements should be information that you know. For example, when creating a security question, consider answering a question about the street you grew up on or your favorite high school teacher.
Alternatively, you can regularly change your passwords to prevent card theft. This requires more time on our part, but it maximizes your account number security.
It’s convenient to store your credit numbers on websites for later use, a feature many sites offer online. This way you don’t have to reach for your credit card every time you make a purchase. However, this convenience can cost you a fortune in the future.
Think about the credit card breaches that big banks and established retailers have endured in the past. Data breaches of this size expose thousands of personal information.
As such, saving your credit card numbers on retail and e-commerce database makes it easier for identity thieves to take your credit card numbers. Regardless of how frequently you visit these sites, you should never save your account numbers on a website.
Keep your receipts and track your spending – this helps you spot out any discrepancies between your spending and your monthly card statements. This is a great habit to delve into once you own a credit card.
Double-checking your card statements (especially for businesses that make large purchases) allows you to catch any unauthorized charges. You can sign up for bank or credit alerts that notify you of suspicious card activity.
As a prevention measure, you should remove the 3-digit CVV number on the back of your credit card. The sole purpose of the CVV number is for you to make purchases online. Otherwise, no one has any reason to see that number.
If you’re out in public spaces and someone catches a glimpse of your physical credit card and CVV number, they can purchase anything online. This can happen when you least expect it.
You can simply black out or scribble the CVV number on the back of your credit card. Instead, write this number down on your phone or remember it, so you can make future purchases online.
Mobile devices have granted everyone the luxury of purchasing from anywhere at any time. Despite this leisure, we strongly discourage you from making any financial transactions on public Wi-Fi or computers.
Public networks have basic security levels that will not provide adequate protection to your credit card numbers when you make a purchase. The same idea applies to public computers at libraries or community centers. As such, we recommend you save your content and make any financial transaction on secure home networks instead.
When a hacker engages in phishing scams, they attempt to steal your information by impersonating legitimate companies. For example, hackers may pretend to be an advisor from your bank or a sales representative from Amazon.
Phishing scams that compromise credit card safety happen in several ways. Some hackers will send an email or text message, prompting you to open a link. Opening these links often results in installing malware and viruses on your devices. While you can easily spot some phishing activities, some hackers take very substantial measures to make themselves seem as legit as possible.
Another way this can carry out is by phone call. Many hackers will impersonate your bank or company and ask for personal and credit card information. Never give out personal information unless you’ve verified that the numbers belong to someone from that institution. Even then, if you randomly receive a call that requires giving out your credit card information, hang up as soon as possible.
Sometimes, when making purchases over the phone, you need to read your card number out loud. For better credit card security we suggest you do this in a private area. Otherwise, people around you can listen in and jot down your account numbers for future usage.
Additionally, avoid reading your credit card information into an answering machine or voicemail. Many identity thieves specialize in hacking answering systems which may leave your account vulnerable to fraudulent activity. These systems have poor security measures so always speak to someone.
If you’re keen on protecting your information, virtual cards are the best option. Many businesses use virtual cards because it adds an extra layer of security, and it’s easy to use. A virtual card has a unique card number, but it’s still linked to your real bank account.
This way, even if someone stole your virtual card, they cannot access your real account information. Additionally, you can also set an expiration date on the virtual card and have it expire after one purchase.
Credit card theft may sound concerning, but there are ways to mediate the risks from fraudulent activity. If you apply our suggestions above, this can help protect your business from credit card theft and losing thousands of dollars.
Recommended reading: Virtual Cards: Protection, Prevention and Payments
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