Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud is not a new phenomenon, but with the increased use of point-of-sale terminals and e-commerce shopping sites, criminals have found it easier than ever to capture card data, skim devices and clone credit cards.
Read on to learn effective strategies to safeguard your financial well-being and ensure that your credit card remains a valuable financial tool rather than a source of worry.
What is Credit Card Fraud?
Credit card fraud is any theft that involves the use of another person’s credit card details or the physical card itself to conduct unauthorised transactions. Criminals often use cunning techniques, from the classic wallet snatching to more elaborate online scams. The underlying goal is financial gain at the victim’s expense.
Common Types of Credit Card Fraud
There are various ways in which credit card fraud can occur:
Card Not Present (CNP) Fraud
In this type of fraud, criminals use stolen credit card information to make online or phone purchases without a physical card. CNP fraud is prevalent in e-commerce.
Criminals install small devices on card readers, such as ATMs or petrol stations, to capture your card’s information when you make a transaction.
Large-scale data breaches at companies can expose your credit card information to hackers.
Lost or Stolen Cards
When your physical credit card is lost or stolen, unauthorised transactions can occur until you report it and the card is deactivated.
Fraudsters send deceptive emails or messages, posing as legitimate entities, to trick you into revealing your credit card details.
How to Protect Your Credit Card Information
Criminals are constantly developing more sophisticated techniques to steal credit card information. Encryption and anonymity tools can make it difficult for law enforcement agencies to trace and apprehend credit card thieves. However, there are some practical tips to protect your credit card information.
Safeguard Your Physical Card
Sign the back of your card as soon as you receive it. Keep your card secure when unused, and don’t leave it exposed in your car or workplace. Shred any documents containing your credit card information before disposing of them.
Use Strong Passwords
Use complex, unique passwords to prevent illegal access to online accounts associated with your credit card.
Monitor Your Accounts Regularly
Regularly examine your credit card statements and report any discrepancies immediately to your credit card issuer. Many credit card companies offer account alert services that notify you of unusual activity, such as large purchases or transactions from unfamiliar locations.
Be Cautious Online and Offline
When making online purchases, ensure you shop from secure and reputable websites. Look for “https://” in the URL and a padlock icon in the address bar to confirm a secure connection. Don’t make financial transactions or access sensitive accounts when connected to public Wi-Fi networks, as they may be less secure. Lastly, be mindful when clicking on links or downloading attachments in emails, especially if they request your credit card information, and always verify the legitimacy of the sender and website before taking any action.
Warn Anyone with Access To Your Credit Card
It’s imperative that you are the only one who has access to your credit card. If others use your card in your family, ensure they know the risks and best practices for credit card security.
Be Wary of Skimming Devices
Inspect card readers for any unusual attachments or irregularities before using them.
Cover the keypad when entering your PIN at ATMs to prevent hidden cameras from capturing it.
Protect Personal Information
Be cautious about sharing sensitive information, such as your credit card number, over the phone or responding to unsolicited emails.
Embrace Technology for Security
Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Enable 2FA for your online accounts to add an extra layer of security. This typically involves receiving a one-time code on your mobile device or email for account access.
Virtual Credit Card Numbers: Some credit card issuers offer virtual credit card numbers for online purchases, which can help protect your actual card information.
What Do You Do If Credit Card Fraud Has Already Taken Place?
In the event of credit card fraud already having taken place, inform and file a dispute with your credit card company immediately. They will investigate and, if necessary, reverse the charges.