8 steps to ensure you’re not the next victim of credit card theft
Credit card fraud is always something that happens to other people…until it happens to you.
Then your whole life is turned upside down, turmoil sets in, and the very thing that close to 70% of Americans fear more than any other threat has claimed you as a victim as well.
Credit card theft is a reality that every responsible adult should be aware of.
We are here to give you the information, tools, and confidence you need to combat this widespread threat that is overtaking our personal and financial accounts at a rapid pace.
Here’s what need to know about credit card fraud/theft and what you can do to prevent it from happening to you.
The Cold Hard Facts about Credit Card Theft
Did you know…
- that hackers claim 30 new identity theft victims every single minute?
- that over $100 million was stolen through credit card theft last year?
- that credit card theft is one of the threats that Americans fear, taking a place above terror and war?
Face the facts: credit card and identity theft are real. Now what are you going to do about it? Keep reading to learn more about this frightening reality.
Fortunately, securing your cards is now easier than ever! Keep reading…
How to Recognize Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud doesn’t have to be as insidious as taking over an entire identity.
It comes in many forms and can be as discreet and as dangerous as the cybercriminal desires.
The best way to keep yourself safe from these heinous crimes is to be aware of the possible entry points where credit card theft is likely to occur. Here are a few of the most common locations of attack:
Attached at the hip to our smartphones, tablets, and gadgets, the allure of free WiFi is too good for anyone to pass up, and that’s just what hackers are banking on.
When you log into an account via a public WiFi network, you are opening a channel of communication that these criminals can easily piggyback onto.
Once in, the hackers collect financial information as simply as they would pick apples in an orchard.
Some of the most devious of all hacking paraphernalia, skimmers can be found everywhere, so beware.
Skimmers, those small credit card swiping devices, easily collect credit card information at point-of-sale locations such as ATMs, gas stations, restaurants, and other places where your card gets swiped through a machine.
Phishing scams can be sent out via email, pop-up, or SMS, but regardless of its content or channel, these scams will either ask you for money or bring you to an infected site that will then hack into your accounts and steal your credit card details.
Don’t be fooled. Surf and click wisely!
Preventing an Attack
In short, there are endless ways for the criminals to get your credit card information. So what can you do to stop them from committing identity fraud in your name?
Here are a few precautionary measures you can take to fend off these cyber crimes from happening to you:
1. Don’t be oblivious
If you don’t stay on top of your accounts, you’ll never notice a problem until it’s too late.
Regularly check your transaction history for unknown or suspicious purchases, transfers, or illegal actions.
If you do online banking, this is even easier – sign up to receive account activity directly to your phone or email. Browse the transactions to ensure nothing looks shifty, and if it does…
2. Report immediately
If you notice anything unusual or unrecognizable on your account, contact the bank right away.
The same goes for lost or stolen cards. Call 800-876-7060 or go to identitytheft.gov to get more information and help.
Remember – if you see something, say something!
3. Be aware
Know what’s out there by constantly staying up-to-date with the latest threats and tactics criminals are using.
Knowledge is power, and in this case, it’s also security.
4. Think twice
Before you hand over your credit card details, banking information, or other personal data (physically, over the phone, or online), make sure everything is legit.
Is the website you’re using registered with a security seal? Can you confirm which organization you are speaking with or was this a phone call you received from a “bank representative”?
Watch your credit card as your waiter swipes it through the machine after your meal.
5. Only use trusted sites
Secure websites are easy to detect.
They’ll have an “S” at the end of the “http” in the address bar (like this: https). Additionally, secure sites will have a padlock symbol to tell you they are safe.
No symbol, so submitting!
6. Verify the source
If you get a phone call from a bank representative, an email from one of your accounts, or some other official looking communication informing you of an issue that needs immediate repair, proceed with caution.
If it’s a phone call, hang up and call back the local or national service line to ensure you are really speaking with a legitimate rep.
If it’s an email, don’t click on any links. Instead, type the account or service into your web browser directly so you know that you’ve arrived at the correct and secure website.
7. Don’t share unnecessarily
Don’t photocopy, fax, scan, or share your personal information unless it’s absolutely necessary.
It’s just asking for trouble.
And PLEASE don’t be that person on the train who gives her credit card number out loud! Sharing isn’t always caring!
Protect yourself, your credit, and your identity from falling into the wrong hands by staying informed and taking these simple steps to safer surfing and shopping.
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