Every year, more than 100,000 cases of credit card fraud are reported in the United States. Do you have concerns about credit card fraud protection or unsure how to protect against fraud?
The idea of dealing with fraud can be scary, for sure. Don’t let fear stop you from taking action, though. If you’re armed with the appropriate information, you can fight credit card fraud and prevent it from happening to you.
How Does Credit Card Fraud Happen?
Most people are aware that credit card fraud is a common issue. But what they don’t realize is how it happens. There are many ways someone can access your credit card information, but these are some of the most well-known:
- Credit card skimmers: Devices placed on top of machines with card readers that store credit card numbers after the card has been swiped
- E-skimming: Rogue code that gets injected into online retailers’ shopping carts to steal credit card numbers during online shopping transactions
- Phishing scams: Phone and email scams that trick consumers into handing over their credit card details
It’s fairly easy for someone to get their hands on your credit card information. That’s why it’s important to know how to protect yourself from, and fight against, fraud.
How to Protect Yourself from Credit Card Fraud
It’s almost always easier to prevent something than deal with the damage after the fact. Credit card fraud is no exception. Here are some effective strategies to keep your credit cards details safe.
Use Contactless Payment When Possible
If they’re available to you, take advantage of contactless payment options like Apple Pay or Google Pay. Your credit card number isn’t used directly in these transactions, which minimizes the risk of having it stolen.
Keep an Eye on Your Transaction History
Don’t just look at the final balance on your credit card or online bank statement. Pay attention to the charges and take note of any that seem strange. If you do this on a regular basis, you’ll be able to spot potentially fraudulent charges sooner and address them right away.
Use an RFID-Proof Wallet
If somebody has a wireless card reader, they can “accidentally” bump into you and access your credit card information since most credit cards these days are wireless. Investing in a wallet with an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)-proof sleeve can block these devices and keep your details safe.
Don’t Shop on Public Wi-Fi Networks
Public Wi-Fi networks at coffee shops or restaurants are not very secure and are vulnerable to hacking. To protect your information, avoid shopping on these networks when you’re out and about. Stick to secure, password-protected networks as much as possible.
Use Credit Cards Instead of Debit Cards
Credit cards tend to offer more purchase protection than debit cards. Try to use them instead of debit cards, especially when you’re shopping online or don’t have the option to use contactless payment methods.
Choose Cards with “Freeze” or “Pause” Features
When you’re looking for credit cards, choose one that has a “freeze” or “pause” feature included in their mobile app or online banking platform. This makes it easier for you to freeze your card and prevent someone from using it if you suspect they’ve stolen your information.
Only Shop with Secure Merchants
When shopping online, look for websites with an “https” at the beginning of the URL. The “s” here stands for “secure”, and it shows the retailer has taken extra steps to ensure your information is protected when you use their site.
And some merchants take extra steps to encrypt your data and display secure badges on their checkout pages. If you can, stick to online stores you know are secure.
How to Fight Credit Card Fraud
Even for the most diligent individuals, there’s still the potential you could end up having to deal with credit card fraud. This is why it’s important to know how to fight and advocate for yourself should this happen. Here are steps you can take if your information is stolen:
- File a fraud report with your credit card company
- Reach out to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and report identity theft, if you suspect identity theft has occurred
- File a police report if the FTC recommends it
- Freeze your credit so fraudulent charges don’t mess up your credit score
- Change passwords for all financial accounts
You may also want to reach out to a fraud specialist. They can provide additional guidance and help you get the issue resolved as soon as possible.
Prevent Credit Card Fraud Today
When it comes to figuring out how to fight credit card fraud and proper fraud protection measures, it’s understandable to feel intimidated. It’s important to learn how to protect yourself, though, and know what to do in the event that your information does get stolen.
Keep the information discussed above in mind and you’ll be less likely to have to deal with credit card fraud. You’ll also feel better equipped to handle this issue should it arise.