6 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Target of Credit Card Fraud

There are several ways you can become a target of card fraud if you are not diligent about protecting your credit and other financial information.The world we live in can be a scary place.

Unfortunately, the technology many of us praise and run our lives with can sometimes come back to harm us.

There are several ways you can become a target of credit card fraud, like online shopping and banking, the use of false card readers, or even someone hacking into various company databases where your data may be stored.

You’re most likely aware of the many ways computer-savvy individuals can gain access to your most private information, and if they do, you may find a large portion of your income drained from your account.

The worst part about credit card fraud is that it’s easier done than you may think.

In fact, you may have a few habits that are leaving you and your financial information vulnerable without even being aware of it.

Coming back from identity theft and credit card fraud can be a difficult task, which is why you have to do everything in your power to make it that much harder for those who come looking.

To avoid becoming the target of credit card fraud, make sure to implement these 6 tips.

1. Protect Your Online Information

In a digital world, many of us have multiple accounts online where our personal information is stored. Furthermore, apart from social media and email, we now pay bills, shop, and bank online, too. Although this is often a convenience for us, it can also be dangerous if you aren’t careful.

With an array of passwords and accounts, it’s easy for someone to easily steal valuable personal and financial information. To help prevent your information from being stolen, make sure you clear all logins and passwords and never opt to save them on sites where your financial information is stored. It’s also a good idea to change your passwords frequently.

Furthermore, opt to pay for items online with a credit card instead of debit. While hackers still have a chance of stealing your information, they won’t have direct access to your bank account.

Moreover, be on the lookout for phishing, which is when a scam or pop-up disguises itself as a legitimate business or bank to gain valuable information from you. Make sure you’re familiar with the site and think twice before giving out any details on a site you aren’t familiar with.

2. Be Wary of What You Toss

You’re mailed and sent tons of bills, bank statements, applications, and other papers with personal information on a daily basis. If you simply throw these papers away when you’re done with them, you’re making a big mistake.

Most criminals after your information aren’t afraid to look in the trash, which means you’d be giving them all the information they need.

Instead, be sure you shred any documents with personal information and account numbers before you get rid of them.

3. Monitor Your Accounts

One of the most important things you can do nowadays is monitor your accounts on a regular basis. By checking in regularly, you’ll instantly be aware of any abnormal activity.

Like a lot of things in life, the sooner you discover any fraudulent charges, the better. In fact, if you hope to take advantage of federal liability protection, it’s a must to report any charges within 60 days. When a thief strikes, you’ll want to be instantly alert so you can take action immediately.

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4. Be Careful When Shopping Online

Shopping online can be a beautiful thing. You can do it in the comfort of your own home, browse as long as you’d like, and easily compare prices without the pressure of a salesperson.

Unfortunately, it’s also an easy way to leave yourself vulnerable to anyone that may be after your information.

In order to prevent yourself from falling victim, do what you can to keep your computer safe. Utilize virus software and make sure your wireless network is secure.

Furthermore, take a good look at the website you’re shopping on. Make sure it’s secure by checking that the site begins with https, or has a green lock displayed before its name. Also, in most cases, it’s probably not the best idea to use a public computer when purchasing things online.

5. Look into Protection

Thankfully, due to all the fraud and identity theft prevalent today, there are ways to ensure you aren’t seriously damaged by fraud. Many companies offer free alerts with your credit card plan. You can sign up to be emailed, called, or texted by your bank or credit card company if they spot suspicious activity or charges to your account.

Moreover, you can always opt for a card that includes fraud protection. Most major credit cards have a $0 liability guarantee, which means you won’t be held responsible for paying anything if your card is wrongly charged.

You may also want to opt for a card that uses paperless statements, automatic alerts, and has a department of fraud specialists who can be there to assist you if ever needed.

6. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

An important practice to prevent yourself from being a target is to merely be aware of your surroundings. If you order something online or purchase an item over the phone, be wary of the place in which you do those things. Don’t open yourself up to harm by announcing your card number within earshot of strangers.

You should also be aware when performing daily habits like going to the ATM or getting gas. Give the gas pump a quick look to ensure the credit card reader doesn’t look as though it’s been tampered with. The same goes for ATMs.

Those looking to steal your information could replace the reader with their own or install a small camera in the machine to gain your information. Again, be cautious if you’re using a standalone ATM and quickly check to make sure everything is in order before using it.

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on theft protection to ensure your safety. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to increase your financial security so you don’t fall victim to fraud. Be vigilant when using your card, and take any breach in your security seriously to help minimize damage.

Have you ever fallen victim to credit card fraud? What steps do you take to secure your protection?