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How to Prevent Credit Card Fraud | Our Actionable Tips!

Have you ever been a victim of credit card fraud? Even if you haven't, chances are someone you know has. Credit card fraud is one of the most talked about issues in today's society. As a result, many questions are circling on how to prevent credit card fraud and what makes it so difficult to prevent. Fortunately, a fair credit billing act helps with fraud.

Key Takeaways

  • Set up two-factor authentication in addition to strong passwords and PIN
  • Avoid paper trails of your Credit card details
  • Do not share your financial information over public Wi-Fi
  • Monitor and review your Credit Card billing regularly
  • Report lost credit cards and identity theft suspicions immediately
  • Beware of scams and card skimmers

9 Tips on How to Prevent Credit Card Fraud

  1. Set Up Two-factor Authentication in Addition To Strong Passwords and Pin

Using a strong password or PIN is key in protecting your credit accounts. Avoid disguising your PIN with birthdays, your or a family member’s name, and numbers of common items like license plates, social security, cell phone, or car registration plates. Ensure the PIN differs from other unlock codes in your house or devices.

If using a password, combine unique letters, numbers, and symbols to prevent easy hacking and access to your credit accounts. According to Google, a strong password should be at least eight characters that combine upper and lower cases, symbols, and numbers. Frequently change the PIN and passwords for your credit cards.

Add two-factor authentication to tighten the security of your account. Integrating this extra step sends alerts via call, text, or email whenever a new device logs in to your credit account. Therefore, someone with your password cannot access your debit accounts unless they have access to your phone. Cautiously input correct details during account opening with your credit card company using unique passwords and PINs to help with extra security.

Password field on the monitor screen
  1. Avoid Paper Trails of Your Credit Card Information

Credit and debit cards billing statements have full details, including the number printed on these documents. Thus, shred unwanted documents with your credit card number before trashing them in the bin. Do the same for expired and canceled credit cards.

Alternatively, request e-statements from your credit card issuer to minimize mailed statements and help with credit card fraud prevention. Thieves can easily intercept your mailed statements, steal in the trash, or do a burglary. All these can be avoided by using e-statements which are a safer option. However, if for some reason you still prefer printed credit card statements, always remember to shred them when disposed of.

Online payment mobile app
  1. Monitor and Review, Your Credit, Reports Regularly

Keep track of your financial information and credit card account to detect credit fraud early enough. Carefully review your monthly statements manually or set up alerts for unauthorized purchases. Scammers and thieves make small credit card charges to test the security and alertness of your account; checking account activities regularly will eliminate the chances of fraud.

Additionally, major credit bureaus like TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian offer their clients annual free credit monitoring services. Credit monitoring reports offer credit card fraud-detection algorithms that recognize an identity theft trying to open a new credit card account using your details and prevent that.

  1. Report Lost Credit Cards and Identity Theft Suspicions Immediately

Inform your credit card provider immediately if you notice your card is missing or stolen and request them to impose a credit freeze. It freezes access to your credit account for up to fifteen days and sets fraud alerts when a thief tries to impersonate you. This limits your card issuer from approving any transactions within the period, thus saving you from massive financial liability.  

alert message on the monitor screen

Report credit card fraud to local law enforcement or federal law official websites. It will prompt you on the next legal cause of action. This step is important to help maintain a good credit score determined by the transaction history in a particular bank account.

Inform your card issuers of any fraudulent activity and identity theft. You can do this manually but signing up for transactional alerts with the credit card companies adds a layer of security that tracks fraudulent credit card purchases. You can also set up alerts for your credit card accounts for purchases above a certain limit, international purchases, and get a free credit report.  

  1. Don’t Shop Online Unless in Stores With Chip Readers

Stay vigilant at all times when it comes to shopping online using your credit or debit card information. Preferably, use virtual credit card numbers to register for online accounts or make payments; if your financial institution offers that option—it boosts credit fraud protection.

If not, pay with your credit card in stores and transact with chip cards like EMV, which reads a card’s magnetic chip instead of giving the site your information. This offers an additional layer of security for your credit card account online, mainly available for in-person shopping.

a person holding a credit card and notebook
  1. Ensure the Safety of Your Physical Credit Cards

This is a basic personal finance lesson to keep your credit card in a secure wallet or in places that are inaccessible to others. Return it to the wallet after purchase to prevent any digital imprint by thieves. Similarly, invest in an RFID-blocking wallet to minimize credit card fraud. Scammers have advanced their technology in stealing your information even when the card is in your wallet—be steps ahead.

When getting the credit card kit, ensure it’s not tampered with and input your signature immediately after receiving it. Some institutions will offer PIN security, so only you can access the credit card.

  1. Beware of Phishing Scams

Phishing happens when a scammer calls, texts, or sends a snail mail impersonating a financial institution, tricking you into revealing your financial information. Unfortunately, technological advancement has sophisticated these scams where a fake caller ID comes with the institution's name.

Be informed when someone asks about your PIN or password, regardless of the source. 

Verify the legitimacy of the callers and report to your bank if you notice any suspicious emails. Notably, a legit bank institution or government will never ask you to provide information over the phone, texts, or emails. Be extra cautious to check the grammar or spot any detail in an email that shows incorrect information.

  1. Be on the Lookout for Card Skimmers

Skimmers are advanced pickpockets, with online purchases being their playground. During normal credit card transactions, they steal your card number at ATMs, gas stations, or restaurants and create counterfeits. Some use a skimming device that attaches to the payment terminal and gets your card details. When paying for services with your cards at gas stations, always check for signs of tampering and report to an employee if you witness any suspicious activities.

phishing alert on the monitor screen

Alternatively, switch to mobile payment apps to avoid skimmers and fraudulent credit card charges. Although these still pose a card fraud threat, it’s less likely that your card information will be skimmed while making payments. Use official mobile apps like Samsung Pay or PayPal. These Apps have a tokenization technology that permits payments without exposing card numbers or sensitive details. Thus, credit card fraud protection in case the card falls into the wrong hands.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

How can someone use my credit card without having it?

The most common way is to copy the information from your credit card when you use it, then use it to make a purchase.

Can I get my money back if someone uses my credit card?

No! You'll never get your money back if someone else uses your credit card, even if they are fraudulent. The bank doesn't have any responsibility for this and will not reimburse you for any fees or charges made by fraudulent use of the account.

Can the bank find out who used my credit card?

The answer is no. The bank can not find out who used your credit card, and they won't be able to get the money back. Most thieves will disguise themselves under a fake account, making it difficult to know who they are. 

How do hackers acquire my credit card details? 

When you click unsecure links, emails, or websites, hackers can get the card details immediately after you use your card. Alternatively, making financial transactions with your credit card over public Wi-Fi puts you at risk of being hacked. 

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.

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