How to Protect Yourself Against Credit Card Fraud

Just having a credit card puts you at risk of credit card fraud – where criminals use your credit card information to rack up purchases. Fortunately, most credit card issuers offer zero liability protection against fraudulent protection which keeps you from having to pay up for charges you didn’t make. Still, catching and reporting fraud can be a headache. There are some things you can do to prevent your credit card information from landing into the wrong hands.

Report Missing Credit Cards Right Away

The longer your credit card is missing, the more time a thief has to run up charges on your credit card. Let your credit card issuer know your credit card as been lost or stolen as quickly as possible. Some even let you report a missing credit card online or through the smartphone app. And you may even be able to receive a temporary card that you can use online or via mobile wallet.

Use the Chip If You Can

Most credit card issuers have mailed out the more secure EMV credit cards. When you use the chip to make purchases – as opposed to swiping your credit card – your actual credit card information isn’t transferred. This protects your credit card details in case the merchant is attacked in a data breach.

Be Careful Using Your Credit Card Online

Enter your credit card information only at reputable retailers, whose websites you trust. Look for the security lock and “https://” in front of the website address. These indicate that you’re shopping on a secure website. If you’re not sure the website is secure, avoid entering your credit card information.

Don’t Give Out Your Credit Card Information

Scammers may try to trick you into giving up your credit card information by posing as your credit card issuer or other companies you do business with. As a general rule, avoid giving your information to anyone who you did not initiate contact with. That includes clicking links in emails or text messages.

Be Cautious Using Public Wi-fi

Using public wi-fi is more convenient than relying on your phone’s data plan, but there are risks. Hackers can intercept information you send through public wifi, including your username, passwords, and financial details. Some identity thieves even set up their own public wifi and use it to capture information from consumers who think they’re using a trusted internet connection.

Monitor Your Credit Card Statement Often

Thanks to online accounts and smartphone apps, it’s easier than ever to track your credit card account activity. Check your credit card transactions at least once a week to catch unauthorized charges before fraudsters have a chance to do any real damage. If you spot charges you haven’t made, report them to your credit card issuer right away. Your credit card issuer and send you a new credit card if your information has been compromised.

Shred Your Credit Card Statements

Some credit card billing statements include enough information for dumpster divers to gain access to your credit card account. Instead of tossing your credit card statements directly into the trash, shred them first to keep your information safe.

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