If you’re the owner of a credit card, there is a significant chance you may be subject to fraud like millions of others around the world. Credit card fraud costs both distributors as well as consumers large amounts of money every year.
While credit card issuers are continuously improving their protection facilities and increasing their security to prevent fraud, it doesn’t mean you, as a consumer should not take extra precautions in order to minimise the risk of becoming a victim of fraud.
There are many kinds of credit card fraud as new technologies enable the perpetuation of cyber crimes. There are however, two main categories:
• Card-not-present fraud: Considered the most common kind of fraud, this occurs when the cardholder’s information is stolen and used illegally without the physical presence of the card.
This kind of fraud usually occurs online, and may be the result of so-called “phishing” emails sent by fraudsters impersonating credible institutions to steal personal or financial information via a contaminated link.
• Card-present-fraud: This is less common today, but still occurs. It often takes the form of “skimming” – when a dishonest seller swipes a consumer’s credit card into a device that stores the information. Once that data is used to make a purchase, the consumer’s account is charged.
Here are some ways you can better safeguard the security of your credit card.
1. Try not to reveal your credit card information
Never lend your card or disclose your PIN to anyone else. And if you call your credit card issuer’s customer service, use the number on the back of your credit card.
Don’t return calls to a phone number left on your voicemail or sent to you in an email or text message. It’s hard to be sure if it’s a scammer who left a fake number for you to call.
Credit card thieves have been known to pose as credit card issuers and other businesses to trick you into giving out your credit card number and other details.
It’s important to know that your credit card company or bank would never call to ask for personal information like your credit card number, expiry number, PIN, or the security number on the back of your card.
Don’t throw your credit card billing statements directly into the trash – they typically have your full credit card number and other personal details printed on it. If possible, tear it up into little pieces or shred them.
You can go a step further and put the pieces in different trash bags. The same thing applies to old credit cards that have expired or been cancelled.
2. Be safe with your credit card online
NEVER click on links in emails that ask you to provide personal information, even if the sender appears to be your bank. And never give out your credit card details over social media.
Don’t conduct credit card transactions over public Wi-Fi, for example in public places, such as libraries and airports.
Make sure you’re cautious when using your credit card online. Only enter your credit card number on secure websites that you can be 100% sure are legitimate.
To be sure a website is secure, look for https:// in the address bar and lock in the lower right corner of your internet browser.
Confirm that the web page does not contain grammatical errors or strange words – these suggest it may be a fake site designed solely to steal your financial data.
And before you buy something online from an unknown seller, google the vendor’s name to see whether consumer feedback has been mainly positive.
3. Don’t make it easy to guess your details and spending habits
Choose a PIN that is not easily guessed if your card is lost or stolen – don’t use your birth date or phone numbers or even your car plates. Strengthen online passwords to include random combinations of letters, numbers and special characters and ensure it’s different for each credit card account.
Consider assigning each one of your credit cards to be used for different purposes. For example, a cashback card for groceries, petrol and autodebit bills; a rewards card for shopping and entertainment expenses. Don’t use those cards for anything else.
This helps banks build a spending trend and anything out of the norm could trigger a warning. If one of the cards is breached, at least you won’t have the hassle of changing your autopay accounts or potentially incurring a late-payment fee.
4. Performing in-store transactions
Before confirming a transaction you should always check the total sum you need to pay on the credit card machine. There have been instances of “mix ups” between the PIN and tips that result in the consumer being charged an exorbitant amount.
This simple act takes a few seconds but could potentially save you the loss of money and the heartache that comes with it.
Do consider smartphone-based payment services such as Apple Pay and Android Pay while paying at stores. It’s safer because they use tokenisation technology to change payment information with every transaction. The merchant never collects actual credit card numbers.
Additionally, the device’s lock screen is often password-protected, making the phone unusable without unlocking, usually by PIN or biometric identification, such as a fingerprint.
With these easy steps you can drastically reduce the chances of falling victim to credit card fraud.
This article first appeared in comparehero.my