We live in a world today in which almost every monetary transaction involves credit or debit cards. This sort of spending is very fast and convenient, and we as a society won’t be going back to all cash anytime soon. However, our credit-based world constantly puts us at risk of fraud.
Many people are concerned about credit card fraud and they should be, and this leaves all of us wondering how to prevent credit card fraud. Our success and ease of spending depend on our ability to use our credit on a daily basis. When our credit cards are stolen or our credit security is compromised, our world comes to a halt.
There is almost nothing on earth that is more stressful than thinking or knowing that someone else is spending our hard-earned money for us without our express permission. Fortunately, there are a number of steps we can take to avoid credit card fraud. Read on to learn about credit card fraud and to discover some strategies to keep it from happening to you.
What is Credit Card Fraud?
We often use the terms credit card fraud and identity theft interchangeably, but they are somewhat different.
When your identity is stolen, a thief manages to take over your entire identity. He or she will have access to your home address, social security number, your credit card number and more.
With this information, they can open new accounts, get into your existing accounts, sign up for government benefits and file tax returns under your name, and do a great deal of damage to a vast number of aspects of your life.
Credit Card Fraud
With credit card fraud the thief only has access to your credit card account or accounts. He or she can spend a lot of money on one or more of your accounts through existing account fraud and put you deeper in debt.
He or she can also apply for a new card in your name by using your information. New account fraud can result in charges being made in your name on an account that you don’t even know exists until it is too late.
In all of the above cases, your credit will take a beating. You may find that you owe money to creditors that you never even spent. Often, you can prove to these creditors that you are not at fault and the debt will be forgiven, but this is not always the case. Sometimes, you will have to pay these fraudulent debts yourself to get your credit back in good standing.
The best way to avoid having to do that is to keep yourself safe from the get-go. There are many ways to achieve this and to keep yourself safe from fraud and thieves.
How to Prevent Credit Card Fraud
The dawn and growth of the internet over the past few decades has made it easier for people to steal from you through your credit card accounts. However, on the bright side, it has also made it easier to protect yourself. Here are some ways to keep your credit safe and how to prevent credit card fraud from affecting you.
Use Bank-Owned ATMs
There are ATMs everywhere, and we have all become accustomed to using them whenever we need a little cash. However, not all ATM machines are safe.
It’s easy for thieves to place skimmer devices in standalone machines to steal credit and debit card information. ATMs at banks are checked more frequently for these devices and are therefore safer for customer use.
Don’t Pay at the Pump
Another place that thieves install skimmers is at the gas pump. Although we all love to buy our gas and go without stepping foot in the associated store since we are always on the go, it’s much safer to go inside to pay for your gas.
Use Chip Readers at Retail Establishments
When buying something with credit at a store or restaurant, use the chip reader in the credit card machine instead of swiping your card. When you insert your card in the reader, it reads the information on the chip instead of the information on the magnetic strip. This information is much more secure and your credit information will be much more protected.
Don’t Trust Anyone
Although the majority of credit card theft is perpetrated by a stranger, some is the result of sharing information with someone you know and trust. Keep your credit card information to yourself and you’ll never have to worry about a friend or family member being tempted.
Be Careful When Making Phone or Online Purchases
We all love shopping online, but just because a company has an online retail site for you to use doesn’t mean it’s safe. There are many ways that your credit information can be intercepted when you make online purchases, and once you type it into an online form, an email, or a text, you no longer have control over who can access it. It’s possible that it will be forwarded to someone else without your knowledge.
This also applies when making purchases over the phone. You never know where your credit card information will end up.
If you do choose to shop online, make sure you are doing so only when you have a secure connection. Avoid making purchases online when using public Wi-Fi.
Set Up Fraud Alert
Fortunately, there are many services available today that can help you stay vigilant against fraud. You should sign up for them and use them to your advantage.
Many are built into specific credit cards which is great, but you can also sign up for and pay for credit monitoring services that will contact you at the first sign of trouble. These are worth every penny for the peace of mind you will experience.
Credit cards are a great convenience of our modern-day world, but the dread of potential credit card fraud can cause much stress.
If you do the right things and take all the proper steps, you will be much less susceptible to this type of theft and you can sleep better at night. Now that you know how to prevent credit card fraud, what are you waiting for? Put these suggestions into action and keep your money and credit safe.
If you’re looking for ways to keep your body healthy as well as your credit, check out the health section of our site.