Credit card fraud happens when someone steals your credit information and uses it to make purchases or borrow money. While victims of fraud don’t typically have to pay anything, the situation can take time and effort to sort out.
Reporting stolen cards and waiting around for your new one to be delivered in the mail can feel like a hassle. However, you can take steps to protect your card from everyday threats. Keep reading to learn six ways to keep your credit card safe.
1. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Whether you use a credit builder card or a traditional credit card, your card’s mobile app likely has two-factor authentication. This second layer of safety provides added protection. Typical passwords can be easy to guess and shouldn’t be your only form of security. Enabling two-factor authentication makes it harder for people with ill intentions to access your information.
Once you have two-factor authentication turned on, the mobile app will require two types of information to access your account. One of these will be your password. The other will be a code sent to your phone or biometric data like face recognition or a fingerprint. So, even if your password is leaked, no one can access your information without a second form of verification.
2. Shop on Your Device with a Private Network
The library isn’t the best place to do your online shopping. Public devices, like library computers or hotel lobby tablets, save your login information, making it available to the next user. Logging out of your accounts won’t protect you either. If hackers have installed spyware on the device, they can access your credit card numbers, usernames, and passwords.
While using a personal device offers some protection, cybercriminals can still access your information if you’re using public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi networks may be convenient, but they’re insecure, so it’s best to treat them with caution. If you can, use your personal hotspot instead.
3. Use Unique Passwords
If you’re like most people, you use the same password across multiple accounts. With so many digital accounts to manage, using the same password may help you remember your login information.
However, it also makes your credit card account easier to hack. When you use the same password all the time, you increase your risk of credential stuffing. This happens when criminals use information stolen from one account to try and gain access to the rest of your accounts.
To protect your credit card information from credential stuffing, your online banking passwords should be unique. A good rule of thumb when creating passwords is to combine upper and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols.
Moreover, start using a password manager to help you manage different, complex passwords across multiple accounts. Password managers safely store all your online passwords, so you don’t have to remember them.
4. Watch Out for Phishing
If you get a call or receive an email requesting your credit card information, do not respond. It’s likely a scammer trying to trick you with a phishing scheme. Phishing is when someone calls or emails you requesting your personal information. These scammers can be tricky and use familiar company names to make it appear as if they’re someone they’re not.
To help protect yourself from phishing, maintain a healthy level of suspicion when you receive requests for personal information. Your bank will never call you to verify account information, so don’t provide credit card information on a call you didn’t initiate. If you receive an email from an address you don’t recognize, don’t click any links and report it immediately.
5. Look for Card Skimming
Skimming is a method of theft criminals use to steal your credit card information at the time of use. This is commonly done through a device attached to a point-of-purchase machine like an ATM or gas pump. These little devices are typically placed over the card reader and are challenging to spot.
While it may be difficult to see a skimming device, there are a couple of things you can do to protect yourself. First, examine any card reading machine before using it. If the graphics look misaligned on the reader or if it seems loose or crooked, it may have been tampered with. Another way to avoid skimming is simply to pay inside when purchasing gas. This completely eliminates the chances of getting skimmed.
6. Act Quickly
If your wallet is stolen or your credit card goes missing, acting quickly can help minimize the damage. First thing’s first, you need to report the theft to your card issuer. Then, they will cancel your old card and send you a replacement in the mail.
If there were any fraudulent charges made on your account, you should receive a refund. The Fair Credit Billing Act protects people from credit card fraud, setting your maximum liability at $50. After receiving your credit card statement, confirm that the information is accurate.
Credit card fraud is frustrating to deal with, but it doesn’t have to happen. By taking the proper steps to protect yourself, you can significantly reduce your chances of becoming a victim.