Keeping your credit card information out of the hands of thieves requires more than just tucking the card away in your wallet. A whopping 35% of American consumers state that they’ve been victims of credit card fraud. And unfortunately, with so many people using their cards for online transactions, that number has been increasing each year.
There are a few steps you can take, however, to prevent fraud on your credit card. Read on to learn how to keep your account information safe.
Only Make Online Purchases From Secure Sites
Since so many thieves get credit card numbers from e-commerce websites, you need to be on guard when buying online. For starters, only make purchases from websites that start with https:// and show a closed lock icon in the browser window. This means they’re a highly secure domain that is much tougher for a scammer to access.
For added security, don’t allow your credit card information to be saved to your account and don’t use autofill when placing an order.
And avoid using your credit card to purchase anything online if you’re using a public computer, such as in a library. You should also be wary about using it online if you’re in a WiFi hotspot as scammers can also access your number this way.
Designate Different Cards For Different Expenses
If you have two or more credit cards, designating each one for various spending expenses will ensure one card isn’t being exposed to potential theft in a wide number of places. Use one card for subscription-based services and nothing else, and another for groceries and other in-store purchases. This won’t completely prevent fraud, but it will help protect at least one of them from falling into the wrong hands.
And if you have to lock one of the cards because of suspicious activity until you contact your credit card company, at least you’ll have access to another card you can use in the meantime.
Monitor Accounts Regularly For Fraudulent Activity
Your credit card company will not always contact you in case of suspicious activity. It’s up to you to regularly monitor your credit cards and report any purchases you didn’t make.
Always contact your credit card company immediately if you see any fraudulent charges. They will determine if you should be issued a new card. If you have the ability to lock your card so it cannot be used, take that action until you can speak to your credit card company.
Take advantage of any features of your card that will alert you to potential fraud, especially if they’re free. Most credit card companies can send you a text or email if your card number is used in another geographical location or for an unusual purchase. You may need to sign up for this feature or have a representative set it up for you.
Beware of Phishing Scams
Phishing is when a scammer tries to trick you into giving them your persona information, usually by making a fake email message that appears to be sent by a legitimate source. For example, you may receive a message appearing to be from Amazon that includes the company’s logo, saying that your account has been temporarily locked for security reasons. The message may ask you to click a link that it claims will go directly to your Amazon account where you can update your personal information.
Never click on links in suspicious emails or enter any information. Always go directly to the company’s website and log into your account there. If the company actually needs you to take action, you will find it in your account.
Phishing emails usually contain tip-offs that tell you the message is fake. The sender’s email address may not quite follow the company’s format or may even be a person’s name. Just delete the message and contact the company directly if you have any doubts.
Be aware that phishing scams can take place via texts and phone calls as well as email.
Pay With a Mobile Phone App
Contactless mobile phone payment apps are gaining in popularity, most notably because they’re a more secure payment system than credit cards. Apps such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay allow you to transmit your stored credit and debit card information using a technology called near-field communication. These apps usually take security a step further by reading your unique fingerprint when you place it on your phone to complete a purchase.
Mobile payment apps protect your credit card number because they create a random tokenized transaction code to represent your account, not the actual number. So your credit card information is never actually collected by the merchant. If the merchant falls victim to a data breach, you don’t have to worry about a scammer having access to your credit card number.
This useful source shows you how to set up and use Apple Pay.
Shred Your Credit Card Statements
If you receive your credit card statements in the mail, it’s important to dispose of them properly. Dumpster divers have been known to gain access to credit card numbers by rummaging through trash.
If you don’t have a fireplace where you can burn them, shred them. But take it a step further by putting some of the shreds in one bag and the remainder in others. This will trip up thieves.
You can also opt for paperless statements and avoid the hassle of keeping paper statements safe when you toss them.
Keep a Close Eye On Your Cards
Lastly, you still want to keep your physical credit cards secure by putting them in a safe place. When you take them shopping, consider putting them not in your wallet but in a compartment in your bag or a zippered pocket on your clothing. If your wallet were to get lost or stolen, your credit card information would stay safe.
Be careful not to leave your card out in plain view where a thief can see the information or take the card.
Follow These Tips to Prevent Fraud On Your Credit Card
Having a credit card today means taking the time to safeguard it to prevent fraud on your account. Follow these tips to cut down on the chance of a scammer gaining access to your account.
For more tips on keeping your money and personal information safe, check out our other posts in our Home & Family section