Since credit and debit cards are so widely used as a primary form of payment, they are subject to use for fraud and identity theft. Because of this wide usage, people have become relaxed in how they handle their credit and debit cards, and it has left them vulnerable to the consequences of that relaxed attitude. However, if you focus on being more aware of the possibilities of fraud and identity theft, you can protect yourself against it. Here are seven ways you can protect yourself from fraud or identity theft through your credit card.
Credit Card Skimmers
Credit card skimmers have become a widely used way of stealing your debit or credit card information and using it for purchases or to steal your identity. The thief will use a skimmer placed over the card reader on an unprotected ATM or gas pump. Because these devices are made to look so much like the real thing, most people don’t notice any difference, and when they swipe their card, it will store the information on the skimmer. To further the sense of security, the ATM or gas pump will still operate as normal without the victim ever being aware their information has been compromised.
To avoid this, you should always go inside the store if you are buying gas or using ATMs inside and visible to a store employee or a guard. If you have no choice but to use an outside and unprotected ATM or gas pump, check the reader thoroughly before using it. If it looks unusual, don’t use it.
Credit Card Theft
Some thieves still operate the old-fashioned way and take your debit or credit card from you. To protect someone swiping your card from you, you should go out of your way to make that impossible, or at least difficult enough that the would-be thief will leave you alone.
Ensure that if you are going to carry a credit card, you only carry one with you at a time if you have more than one. If your wallet is stolen, you only have to deal with one credit card and not all of them. You should also carry your card in a place that can’t be easily gotten to by a would-be thief. Whether it be in your purse or an inside pocket, you should be focused on protecting your card. When using your card to make a purchase, especially at a restaurant, keep your eyes on your card even if they step away from the table to charge it. The main thing to remember is that you should always be aware of your debit or credit card when you are in public.
Credit Card Receipts
When using your credit or debit cards to make a purchase, the receipt is just as important as the card itself. After you have made the purchase, carefully review the receipt and make sure no full credit card information is on it. You should also never sign a blank receipt. If any blanks could have an amount in them, such as tips, make sure you mark through it if it’s blank or check that you put the correct amount for the tip in the blank. Make sure that you write the tip and the total yourself. After the waitstaff has returned your credit card, do not leave it at the table once you sign the receipt. Make sure you hand the receipt to your waitperson.
Credit Card Information
If you must provide your credit card information over the phone, you should keep a few things in mind. First, never give your credit card information to someone who calls you. If you cannot verify that they are a bill collector or someone from a creditor, you should never give your credit card information to them. If you call to pay a bill or order something over the phone, be careful. It is sometimes necessary that you give your credit card information over the phone. However, be careful of who you give it to. As much as possible, do not use phone services in which a human being will be taking your credit card information—always try to use automated services.
Credit Card Online Usage
When using your credit card online, you should still keep some things in mind to protect your credit card. First, only use secure sites. While every site is vulnerable to hacking, secure sites are less likely to fall prey to it. If you are on a public or unsecured network, you should never be using your credit card online during those times. When on a public network, anyone else on that network, who has even low-level hacking skills, can use those skills to steal your credit card information.
If you receive an email requesting your credit card information, you should never use the link provided in the email. If it is legitimate that you need to pay a bill or for some service or product, you should go to the site on your own and not through an email link unless you have prearranged to receive that link.
Lost or Stolen Credit Card
It should go without saying that you should immediately report a lost or stolen card when you become aware of it missing. If you have misplaced your card, give yourself a bit of time to find it, but if you haven’t found it in that timeframe, you should immediately be calling your bank to protect yourself. Many cards and banks can freeze your card by simply going online and accessing your account. If your bank offers this option, you should do it immediately while you search for your card. If you cannot find your card, then call and have it replaced.
Credit Card Statement
Information is king. Therefore, you should always be aware of what is on your credit card statement. Through most banking websites and apps, you can check your balance and activity multiple times a day. You should be checking your activity and balance daily, especially because it is so convenient.About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.