In the digital Information Age we currently live in, credit cards are thought of as a convenience — something many of us rely on.
With a debit card or bank card in hand, consumers don’t have to worry about their bank lobby being open to access their money.
As easy as it is to make purchases with a credit card, it’s just as easy for credit card information to be stolen or used without consent if owners and cardholders aren’t careful.
It isn’t enough to be on the lookout for scams; there are other ways credit cards can become compromised.
So, how do you protect your credit card from fraudulent charges?
1. Shred Anything Containing Your Credit Card Number
Unless you’ve gone paperless, credit card statements and bills will arrive in the mail.
And, while it’s tempting to just toss the statement, that’s one of the worst things you can do.
Instead, you should shred the document.
If you don’t have a shredder, simply tear or cut the document into small pieces.
You should also apply this safety precaution to credit or debit cards that have expired.
If you want to take an extra step, discard the shredded pieces in different garbage cans or trash bags. So, in the unlikely event that someone finds a few pieces, they won’t have everything.
2. Report Lost or Stolen Cards Immediately
Contact your credit card company as soon as you discover your card was lost or stolen.
Acting quickly can help prevent fraudulent charges to the account.
Reporting the credit cards lost or stolen can also help reduce the chances of having to pay for those charges. As opposed to waiting a month or longer and then disputing the charges.
Credit cards typically have a customer service number listed on the back of the card, save this information in your phone for safekeeping.
3. Make Strong Passwords & Don’t Save Them
Saving your credit card information on a website makes online shopping really easy.
But it can also increase the chances of fraudulent charges.
A person with access to your passwords might help themselves to an online shopping spree.
So, unless a device is only accessed by you, don’t save your passwords. And as an added layer of protection, create passwords that are strong and unique so they will be hard to guess.
We love our pets and family members, but their names don’t make great passwords that can protect your information.
Instead of Fluffy123, opt for something more secure like a combination of random letters (capitalized and lowercase), numbers, and symbols.
4. Check ATMs for Credit Card Skimmers
As technology progresses, thieves begin to change their tactics to steal your information.
Credit card skimmers are just one of the ways they will try to get your credit card number.
Credit card skimmers are devices that allow thieves to collect card data to use in fraudulent charges. If a skimmer was being used, it would be located in the swipe strip of the credit card machine.
So, as you swipe your card and enter your PIN, the thief will be able to collect this information.
Some go as far as to install a camera that will record individuals as they enter their PIN information.
Inspect the machine carefully and if anything looks loose or out of place, it’s best to find another ATM to use, or make a purchase and ask for cash back.
Skimmers can be added to almost any device that allows credit cards to be swiped, including registers at restaurants. But skimmers are more likely to be installed in a machine that’s left unattended.
5. Beware of Phishing
Phishing is a term used when consumers are tricked into revealing their personal information, including credit card numbers.
It can occur via email, phone, text, or even postal mail. Phishers will try to gain your trust by using familiar company names, like eBay or PayPal, while deceiving an unsuspecting victim.
It’s easy to get swept up in an email that looks like it’s coming from PayPal.
Be generally wary of requests for personal information, regardless of the source.
If you received an email, call, text, or another form of communication, do not click on any links or verify information through that form of communication.
Instead, verify the legitimacy of those requesting your credit card number. Simply log into your account through the company’s app or web browser to confirm the safety of your account.
If nothing seems out of place in the account, give the customer service number a call to further verify that your information is safe and let them know what you received.
6. Work with a Trustworthy Company
Always be on guard for scammers and those who are trying to get your credit card information. In the event that your credit card has been lost or stolen, it’s important to remain calm and act quickly.
If something happens to your Hudson River Credit Union debit or credit card, our team of financial experts will help protect your financial assets, leaving you with peace of mind.