Things That Every Credit Card Holder Should Know About Credit Card Fraud
While people do know that credit card fraud happens, they just assume that it wouldn’t actually happen to them. What they don’t realize is that millions in America are affected by credit card fraud each year, and that they could easily be one among these millions if they are not careful with protecting their credit card data. Even though the federal law, The Fair Credit Billing Act, offers a good degree of protection to the victims of credit card fraud, it’s worth taking precautionary measures to avoid the hassle in the first place.
Before we learn what these measures are, let’s understand the different ways in which a credit card fraud may take place:
- One scenario is where you either lose your credit card or it gets stolen. The lost or stolen credit card could be used in online transactions.
- Criminals can get their hands on your credit card details via other means too, like from your credit card statements.
- Another common method used for committing credit card fraud is skimming, which happens when you’re swiping your credit card for a point of sale transaction. An unscrupulous vendor or employee could rig the machine to record the credit card details at the time of swiping.
- Your credit card information could be stolen through online hacking attempts too. You could be deceived by a fraudulent website or a phishing scam into giving your credit card number and security code. Or, a data breach could take place in an online database where your credit card details are stored.
Credit card fraud and identity theft are closely co-related. For someone who has access to your credit card data and other personal details like date of birth and address, it’s quite easy to take over your identity too. The criminal could use your compromised credit card and identity to finance their luxuries, get account or card related details changed as per their convenience, apply for a new account or credit card under your name, etc.
5 Measures You Can Take To Prevent Credit Card Fraud From Happening To You
1. Use Your Judgment When Using Credit Card Online
Don’t just blindly trust every website when it comes to using your credit card to pay. Look for signs that give assurance of safety. Seeing if it’s a HTTPS website is a good place to start your checks from. Interactions with HTTPS websites are quite secure because all the data transmitted to and fro is encrypted, meaning your credit card details will be transmitted to the website via a secure, encrypted connection. In addition to checking for HTTPS in the website URL, also ensure that the website uses a secure payment gateway to process your credit card purchase. At the time of checkout, check if the website provides any explicit assurance about the security of your payment transaction and if they comply with any known security standards (like PCI DSS).
2. Watch Out for the Slick Phishing Attempts
If you ever get a catchy email or a well-worded phone call asking for your sensitive credit card information, do not engage with the email or call in any way. Phishing attempts keep getting slicker, and it can be tricky to identify a fraudulent website, email, and phone call. Make it a thumb rule to never give out your credit card number, CVV code, PIN number, and card expiry date, no matter how nicely someone asks you to! Need some help in recognizing the classic signs of a phishing attempt? Check out the article here: What is a Phishing Attack.
3. Use Secure Devices and Networks for Paying with Credit Card
It’s safest to pay with credit card when you’re using your own secure device and home network. Refrain from using the card on a public computer. There could be a keylogger software installed in the computer that you don’t know about. Everything you type using the keyboard could be recorded by this software and possibly used for malicious purposes. Moreover, if you accidentally forget to log out of your accounts or enable auto-fill for your login credentials, then it will be easy for anyone who uses the computer next to access your saved credit card details. It’s also a bad idea to use a public Wi-Fi network for credit card payments. Such networks are often under the radar of hackers, who are looking for information to steal during its transmission over the network. So, using public computers and public Wi-Fi networks for any credit card related transaction should be a complete no-no.
4. Try Using Virtual Credit Card for Online Payments
Ask your credit card company if they provide the facility of virtual credit cards. If they do, you could give this facility a try. A virtual credit card is just a random card number that’s usually generated for one-time online use. This number is associated with your real credit card, meaning you’ll be able to use the virtual credit card number for making online payment from your real credit card. The fact that you wouldn’t be using your real credit card number anywhere at all in the online transaction is the biggest benefit you get out of virtual credit cards.
5. Keep an Eye On Your Credit Card Statements
Last but not the least, go through each of your credit card statements to see if there are any transactions on them that you don’t recognize. If you don’t check the statements frequently, you might end up allowing a credit card fraud to continue for a long time. Therefore, make it a habit to review your credit card statement each month.