How to Protect Your Credit Cards from Online Identity Theft

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4b34aa6bc8a542738c9bb93307b862acOne of life’s truths is that the future cannot be predicted. We never know what’s coming next, and sometimes a curveball can cause drastic changes in our finances. When that happens, whether we want it or not, bankruptcy may be an option to consider. If you are considering bankruptcy, here are six things you should know before you file.

Online identity theft is quickly becoming one of the most common crimes today. As more monetary transactions go digital, having your credit cards stolen through ID theft becomes a life-changing experience rather than a small inconvenience. Here are 6 tips to help protect yourself from online identity theft.

  1. The easiest and most basic way to protect yourself is to monitor your online activity on a regular basis. At least once a month, take an in-depth look at your credit card statements. Look over your various transactions and take stock of anything that looks suspicious. This is also a great way to keep from spending money on frivolous items.
  2. Look into investing in an identity theft service. Although identity theft services cannot stop all types of theft, they can notify you in a much quicker fashion. Because contesting items on a credit card is most effective immediately after the theft has occurred, the sooner you know about fraudulent transactions, the better. Certain identity theft services may also have insurance programs that will help to protect your money in the instance it was stolen.
  3. Take stock of where you purchase things online. Make sure that you are only giving your credit card to accredited businesses that have certification from known encryption services.  An easy way to tell if a website is secure is to check the URL. A secure website should begin with “https” (please note the “s” at the end, which stands for secure).
  4. Try to keep the credit limits on your credit card small. Many savvy customers today will have credit cards with small limits for day-to-day purchases, saving credit cards with larger limits for in person purchases like appliances and motor vehicles. Separating your transactions in this way will help to organize your finances and give you a leg up on any fraudulent activity in your accounts.Of course, keeping up with your various credit cards can be hard, especially if you’re having trouble making ends meet. Luckily, nonprofit agencies like CreditGuard are here to help you get out of debt. They’ll actually work on your behalf to both lower your interest rates and consolidate your various debts.
  5. Make sure you have a decent password. Studies show 75% of people use the same password for all their accounts. Vary it up a little. Try not to use your birthday or any other numbers that are significant to you for your pin number. Do not use any relatives’ names or any words that are immediately significant to you for a password. Why? Because it’s becoming increasingly easier for hackers to find people’s passwords through a simple background search.
  6. Protect the technology that you make purchases on. If you use your home laptop for most of your transactions, be sure it has the latest antivirus program along with an anti-malware program that runs automatically during times of low traffic. In some cases, a hacker will be able to phish your credit card information off of your computer if it is not protected in such a way. If nothing else, be sure to run a security scan at least once to week to make sure your system is running without any bugs.

The Bottom Line

Following the tips above will certainly help to protect your credit card information from unscrupulous hackers. However, not all identity theft can be caught. The best way to handle these instances is to make sure that you’re aware of your purchasing habits and check your credit card statements often. That way the situation can be resolved as quickly as possible should it happen to you.

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