You shopped with your credit card at your favourite mall. Bad news: Your credit card is one of the million that may have been subject to a data breach. Living in the digital age has its upsides and downsides. The ability to send and receive emails, make payments, process transactions, etc. at the drop of a hat is something we could never envision 20 years ago. But with the spurt in ecommerce and increasing proliferation of online payment options, credit card frauds are intensifying significantly.
How does credit card fraud happen?
Credit card fraud can happen in a variety of ways. A retail or bank website can get hacked and your card number can be stolen from there. A dishonest waiter may take a photo of your credit card and use it to make purchases or create another account. You may be offered prize money and asked to reveal your account details to claim your prize. The next thing you know, your card is charged for items you never purchased. A thief may even go to the extent of going through trash to find discarded billing statements and misuse it.
You can mitigate these risks by incorporating a few practices into your daily routine.
- Don’t lend your card to anyone and don’t leave it anywhere. Ensure that there is a secured place for your card in your wallet and even at home and office.
- Don’t keep expired cards. If you no longer need them, discard them appropriately.
- Don’t give your account number to anyone on the phone unless you are sure that it is a reputable company.
- Carry only the card you need for that outing. Avoid taking all your cards with you in your wallet every time you step out. This can minimize your losses in case of theft.
- Keep your eye on your card and make sure you take it back after it has been swiped.
- Ensure that you shop online only from reputed websites.
- We have a habit of taking out our credit cards beforehand when standing in a line to make payment. This must be avoided under all circumstances as it gives credit card thieves the opportunity to copy down your credit card number or take a picture of it with their cell phone.
- Check your bill statement thoroughly and reconcile it with the purchases you have made. If you notice any discrepancies report it to your card company at the earliest.
- Writing down your Personal Identification Number (PIN) defeats the purpose of having one. Don’t write it down, memorize it.
- Never sign a blank receipt. Draw a line across any blank spaces above the total.
- Shred all bills and receipts that have your credit card number on them before discarding them in the garbage.
- If you can’t find your wallet and you suspect it has been stolen or it has been lost, immediately call your card issuer’s 24-hour customer service and have them cancel the card.
- Before you give your personal credit card information online check if the website has a locked lock in the lower right corner of your internet browser.
It is important for the cardholder – you to stay vigilant about protecting your personal information. The payments industry has been long working on creating innovations to combat fraudsters and create a safe and secure environment for all financial transactions. But the first line of defence lies with the cardholder. Being informed of what you can do to protect yourself against credit card fraud is a crucial preventive measure for every credit card holder.