Protect yourself from Credit Card Fraud
Credit cards are a staple of modern life. Most of us have at least one credit or debit card. Unfortunately, it has become clear that every day we are becoming more vulnerable to credit card fraud and theft. Recent incidents regarding theft of credit card information at major retailers like Staples, Target, Home Depot, and eBay have been major news stories and have raised awareness about our collective vulnerability. With that in mind, we would like to offer a few tips to help you protect yourself from thieves and hackers.
Make it harder for the thieves. Protect your account information and passwords. Cut up your old cards, making sure to render the account number unreadable. Never write down your pin number. Don’t sign a blank receipt and make sure to put a line through any blank lines above the total.
Protect your account information and passwords. Cut up your old cards, making sure to render the account number unreadable. Never write down your pin number. Don’t sign a blank receipt and make sure to put a line through any blank lines above the total.
Monitor. Check your statement carefully each month to make sure all charges are legitimate.
More cards, more problems. It’s not a problem to have more than one card, but it makes sense to limit your exposure as much as possible. Don’t carry all of your cards in your wallet or purse. When leaving the house, only take the card that you’ll need that day. Try using the same card for all your online purchases. The fewer cards you’re using, the easier it will be to catch anything unusual and the less damage will be done if the worst happens.
Mine! This is one time when you have to ignore what you learned in kindergarten and refuse to share. Never share your account information with anyone who calls or e-mails you unsolicited. They may even pretend to be calling from a company you do business with. Don’t give in. Hang on to your account information like it’s your favorite toy.
Mind who you’re dealing with. When dealing with companies online, reputation is very important. While even the biggest companies aren’t immune to data theft, it is generally safer to do business with sizable, well-known companies like Amazon or eBay than the smaller ones. That’s not to say you shouldn’t shop at small online shops, just do a little research first. Search the name of the company or site and see what kind of reviews and ratings they’ve gotten. Be especially cautious if the company doesn’t have a street address or is located in a foreign country.
Make it credit. Credit or debit? Always choose credit. There are fraud protections for both credit and debit cards, but credit cards generally have stronger protection. Plus, if a thief empties your bank account before you can report your card lost or stolen, the money is gone. Even if you can get the money reimbursed, it could take a long time. Time during which you won’t have access to your money. In fact, it’s best to only use a debit card at the ATM.
Above all, the most important thing to remember is to report any lost or stolen card as soon as possible. The fraud and theft protections that your bank offers probably decrease the longer it takes you to contact the bank.