In today’s digital and high-tech age, more people are using credit cards than ever. But with the rise in credit cards also came a rise in identity and information theft. In fact, there were about 16.7 million people who were victims of identity fraud in just 2017. This is why it’s important to take measures to protect yourself against credit card theft and fraud. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to do this and we’ve compiled a few easy ones for you to consider.
First, it’s crucial to keep the credit card itself in a safe place at all times. Thieves can snatch credit cards from unsuspecting victims all too easily when it’s in an obvious place, like a big bag or a back pocket. You should also always put your card away immediately after you’re done using it. People can even steal your information by taking a picture of your card, so don’t leave it out too long. And lastly, if you have any forms, like bank statements, with your credit card number on it, it’s crucial that you dispose of them properly. You should always shred these forms to ensure no one is able to steal your card information off of them.
But protecting your card physically isn’t always enough. Seeing as how the average customer in the U.S. spends about $1,800 on online transactions, theft can happen online as well. If you receive any emails that ask for your credit card information for something like shipping or to verify an account, you should not enter your card information. This is a common tactic used to steal credit card information. Scams are all too common and unfortunately, they’re not always easy to detect. So to the best of your abilities, make sure an email or website is legitimate before entering your payment information.
Furthermore, you should always avoid using public Wi-Fi connections for making payments or logging into your banking account. Using these public connections could allow others on the same connection to have access to your information. So if you absolutely have to enter personal payment or banking information in public, make sure you’re on a secure network.
And lastly, you should always check your bank account statements on a regular basis. If you fail to check your statements, you could miss fraudulent uses of your card. So it’s important to take a few minutes weekly or monthly to make sure there aren’t any unusual spendings on your card. Keep in mind that if someone is using their card, they may not be making huge purchases — it may just be a few dollars here and there. This is why you need to look at your statements very carefully. If you do go over your statement and see something amiss, contact your bank right away to cancel your card.
More individuals and businesses are taking steps to protect their information. This is especially true with 2015 data showing that 66% of businesses utilized the help of an outside IT firm in the last year. So keep these tips in mind to protect your card and personal information as best as possible.