One of the major selling points of credit cards is that they are more secure than carrying cash, but in our high-tech society that benefit has lost some of its luster. Stock exchange giant NASDAQ cites a report from Barclays, a multinational banking and financial services company, stating that the United States makes up 24 percent of global credit card use but 47 percent of fraud.
Even if your credit cards have loss and theft protection, fraudulent use creates a financial burden on the economy and may result in an identity theft nightmare for you. These six tips will help you prevent costly credit card fraud that can impact your bank account and your credit rating.
Tips To Avoid Credit Card Fraud
Sign Up for Electronic Billing
Carelessly discarded bills and statements leave a paper trail for would-be thieves. Managing accounts online offers the ability to make secure, password-protected transactions along with helpful benefits such as due date reminders.
Review All Statements
Credit card thieves rely on our reluctance to read financial documents thoroughly. Review all credit card and banking statements for unrecognized charges. Even banks make mistakes, so you may even spot transactions that are simply errors but don’t belong on your account.
Create Strong Passwords and PINs
Passwords and PINs using birth dates, nicknames and other personal information are easy to remember, which is exactly what makes them so vulnerable to hackers. Use a random string at least eight characters long, including upper- and lower-case letters along with numbers, and change them frequently.
Monitor Your Credit History
Excessive credit applications can be a tip-off to stolen data, and they can seriously impact your rating as well. Federal law allows you to request a free credit report annually from the “Big Three” bureaus of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. In addition, many credit card companies are now providing current credit scores for their customers.
Avoid Online Banking in Public Places
Coffee shops have become de facto offices for many people, but restaurants and other public places use open WiFi networks that put your information at risk of being intercepted by hackers. Stick with answering emails or working on that PowerPoint presentation until you’re back home.
Learn to Recognize “Phishing”
Hackers actually play on public fears about financial theft by sending bogus emails claiming to come from your bank or other financial institution. The message is generally some variation about the need to log in to your account immediately. No reputable company will make any such request. If you have questions, contact the financial institution directly.
Daniel R. Gamez, an attorney focusing exclusively in debt relief, is licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in California and Texas. Mr. Gamez owns and operates the Gamez Law Firm in San Diego, CA. For more information, please contact Daniel Gamez at 858-217-5051, firstname.lastname@example.org or use our online contact form. Stay updated with the latest debt relief tips by following on Facebook and Twitter!