Cash 1 Blog
How To Avoid Credit Card Fraud: Credit Card Theft Prevention
Credit card fraud is a serious and prevalent problem today. According to a 2016 study by ACI World Wide, a staggering 46 percent of Americans experienced credit card fraud in the past five years. Credit card fraud occurs when a person illegally uses someone else’s credit or debit card to make transactions and withdraw unauthorized funds from their account. It’s often committed by scammers who implement deceitful methods to gain access to your personal information and use it to hack into your accounts. This crime wreaks havoc on victims’ credit scores and can take months to repair the damage. It’s incredibly important to stay aware of risks and learn how to avoid credit card fraud by taking these precautions.
Take Caution When Making Online Payments
When entering your credit card information online, it’s important to be especially careful. If you’re on a website that isn’t secure, you should refrain from entering any of your information. An unsecured website means that it isn’t using proper encryption techniques and the admin might not be who they say they are. You can easily tell if a website is secure by the padlock to the left of the URL. You can also determine if you’re using a secure website because it will have the letters HTTPS, not just HTTP, in front of the web address. If a website doesn’t have both these characteristics, it isn’t secure, and a notification in the search bar may warn you.
Be Careful When Giving Out Your Credit Card Information over the Phone
Many businesses accept credit card payments over the phone. It’s important, however, to remain cautious when engaging in a cellular transaction. Giving out your credit card information over the phone is one of the most common ways to fall victim to credit card fraud. This is because it’s easy for fraudulent scammers to imitate a company and steal your credit information, since it’s harder to prove their identity. These scammers often call you and ask for information, rather than you contacting them to make a payment. Unless you initiate the transaction, or confirmed the person you’re talking to is trustworthy, you should avoid giving your credit card number over the phone.
Be Aware of Phishing
Phishing refers to deceitful attempts to lure people into giving away their personal information, such as passwords or credit card details. The scammer reaches out to the victim by email or a form of instant messaging, and they direct victims to an illegitimate website to enter their information. To be safe, you should enter your information directly on a business’s website, rather than clicking on the link through an email. You can often tell if you’ve received a phishing email because it will request you send them sensitive information over email or enter it into an attached link. A majority of legitimate companies don’t send unsolicited requests for sensitive information. Other common characteristics of phishing attempts include spelling errors, unsolicited attachments, the absence of a domain email, and generic salutations.
Keep Your Personal Information Private
To prevent credit card fraud, you should avoid giving out your personal information as much as possible—even to people you trust. Fraud committed by someone that the victim knows, or “familiar fraud,” is fairly common. This crime is often perpetrated by a parent, child, sibling, or friend of the victim whom they thought they could trust with their information. While nobody wants to believe that someone they have faith in could betray them, it’s better to be safe than sorry; avoid sharing your credit card information or social security number.
Use a Virtual Private Network When Using Public Wi-Fi
The next time you ask for the Wi-Fi password in a public place, consider using a virtual private network (VPN). Public Wi-Fi can make you extremely vulnerable to hackers who want to steal your credit card information. This is because anyone using the same public network that you’re connected to can access the data being transferred between your device and the internet router. Another risk is that someone could set up a Wi-Fi network with a similar name to the public one to obtain your information after you connect to it. To decrease your chances of falling victim to credit card fraud, you should always use a VPN when logging onto public Wi-Fi. The programming enables you to safely use shared public Wi-Fi by encrypting your data at the sending end, so hackers can’t access it.
Keep a Close Eye on Your Accounts and Credit Report
Keeping an eye on your credit report and score will help you catch credit card fraud early on. You should check your credit report at least once per year to ensure the data on your credit profile is accurate. To receive warnings about changes to your credit, and uncover cases of fraudulent activity, you can also enlist the help of a credit monitoring service.
Enter Your Credit Card Information Manually
Manually entering your credit card information every time you make an online purchase can be a hassle. It may, however, help decrease your chances of credit card fraud. When you save your credit card information on a frequently used website, you put your trust in the company’s cybersecurity protection. If it turns out that their protection is weak, and they have a data breach, your credit card details could be exposed to hackers eager to steal your information. It’s much safer to take the extra time to manually enter your credit card data each time you make a purchase.
Use a Chip Reader or Allow Mobile Pay
Using a chip reader or mobile pay will help protect you from skimming devices. Skimmers placed on card-reading devices on ATMs, gas stations, or registers at stores allow hackers to obtain credit card information by “skimming” the data from your card’s magnetic strip as you scan it. Opt to use mobile payments to help eliminate this risk, because you won’t have to slide your card through a scanning device possibly equipped with a skimmer. If you’re unable to use mobile pay, you can also use a chip reader to reduce the risk. Chip readers are more secure because they read the information on your credit card’s chip rather than the magnetic strip.
If you’ve fallen victim to credit card fraud and experience trouble obtaining a loan due to your damaged credit score, Cash 1 Loans can help. We offer a diverse array of loan options for people with credit scores on the lower end of the spectrum, including Arizona and Nevada title loans, and vehicle registration loans. We also offer installment, personal, and title equity loans, and accept all forms of credit.
Joseph Priebe takes pride in assisting audiences with his articles to help them make sound financial decisions.
With over ten years of experience writing financial content his goal at CASH 1 has always been creating engaging and easy-to-digest information for anyone searching for immediate or long-term monetary solutions.
When Joseph is not writing about personal finance, you can find him photographing the Southwest United States with his 4x5 Graflex Crown Graphic camera. He is based in Phoenix, Arizona.