Credit card fraud is a major problem. According to the Federal Trade Commission, hundreds of thousands of consumers are impacted every year by scams, stolen cards, or credit card data breaches. Although there's no foolproof way to protect yourself against credit card fraud, there are a few simple steps you can take to significantly reduce your risk.
Let’s discuss ways to protect yourself against common types of credit card fraud. We’ll also consider what to do if your card is lost or stolen, and what you can do to monitor your credit usage so you can spot fraud and identity theft immediately.
Tips to Prevent Credit Card Fraud
When it comes to credit card fraud, an old saying holds true: the best defense is a good offense. A few proactive steps can make you a much harder target for scam artists, hackers, and other online and offline credit card criminals.
Keep Login Details Secure
Protect yourself from the most serious form of credit card fraud—identity theft—by keeping your password, username, and other login details secure. Consider investing in a good password manager service to help you generate and keep track of unique, hard-to-guess passwords for every website you use.
Consider choosing two-step sign-in verification whenever possible. Confirming your identity with a third piece of information makes it much harder for criminals to compromise your credit card account. Also, avoid unsecured public wi-fi sites when shopping online or logging into your credit card account because it’s easy for criminals to intercept data on open networks.
Watch Out for Phishing Attacks
Beware of bogus emails that either request sensitive information or direct you to a fake website that will steal your personal information. When entering card information or your password, always make sure you are on a legitimate website belonging to your card issuers or a reputable merchant. Look for a small lock or shield to the left of the URL that indicates your information is encrypted.
Avoid answering unknown or spam calls. Just picking up the call can help confirm your identity, and fraudsters will try to trick you into giving away other sensitive information.
Protect Your Card Number
Take the time to enter your credit card details every time you do a transaction online (a password manager can help) rather than storing your details on sites you use regularly. Information stolen from companies by hackers is the most common source of credit card fraud.
Consider using an online service like Best Reward Federal Credit Union’s Online Bill Pay service, rather than letting utilities and vendors keep your details on file.
Monitor and Shred Documents—Even Junk Mail
While your bank statements, credit card statements, and other financial documents don’t include your full account, credit card number, or social security numbers, these documents include sensitive information, such as your name, address, transaction history, and credit limit.
By shredding these statements (or opting for paper-free delivery), you’ll keep your sensitive financial information much closer to the vest.
It's also not a good idea to throw out junk mail containing pre-approved credit card offers. Someone who comes across one of these offers could apply for credit in your name—leaving you unaware that anything is amiss until you begin receiving collection notices or your credit score takes a hit.
As a Best Reward member, you can shred your documents for FREE at any branch!
Keep an Eye Out for Credit Card Skimmers
Credit card skimmers are unobtrusive devices that fit over the top of credit card readers and steal your information when you use your card. They are most often used at places where they can be installed and removed quickly and discreetly, such as gas stations and ATMs. While modern EMV chip cards offer more protection, skimming remains a serious problem.
Card skimmers can be hard to spot, and unfortunately, you usually won’t know that you’ve fallen victim to a scam until fraudulent transactions start showing up on your statement.
Reporting a Lost or Stolen Credit Card
If you suspect a credit card has been compromised or if you lost the physical credit card, the most important step is to call your credit card issuer. Canceling your credit card and issuing a new one is simple and will help limit any damage the identity thief plans to do with your card.
Once you've reported your lost or stolen credit card, you should update your online bill payments and remove the card as a payment option on any commonly used websites.
How to Prevent Credit Card Fraud: Monitor Your Credit
Monitoring your credit report is a good idea even if your credit card information hasn't been breached. There are a variety of different monitoring services, from those that email you anytime you make a purchase over a certain dollar amount to those that only notify you if a new account is opened in your name.
Also, be sure to get a FREE copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting agency (TransUnion, Experian, Equifax) to ensure that the information on all of your credit reports is correct and up to date.
Best Reward Federal Credit Union: Serious About Safety, Serious About You
At Best Reward Federal Credit Union, we’re serious about card safety and putting the best credit card security tools in your hands. Our VISA® Platinum and VISA® Platinum Rewards cards offer 24-7 support and built-in fraud protections including VISA® zero fraud liability.
Best of all, your VISA® Platinum credit card links seamlessly with our free mobile banking app to allow instant access to your account balance and transaction history. Click below to find out more about how Best Reward Federal Credit Union’s mobile banking services keep you safe on the go.
See Our Mobile Banking Services & Apps Options & Benefits