Protecting your credit card in today’s day and age is more important than ever. The Nilsson Report informs the costs of credit card fraud are now reaching tens of billions of dollars on a global level.
And while we still don’t have a definitive solution for this problem, modern technology can help you keep your data from getting into the wrong hands.
What’s more, the more obstacles and barriers you create between your funds and criminals, the less chance you have to get robbed down the line.
So here are just of the steps you should take in order to ensure the safety of your credit information.
Tips for Credit Card Protection
1. Use Your Card over a VPN
Most of us do a ton of tasks online every day – everything from checking your balance, and making payments to booking flights and purchasing items can be handled with just a few clicks.
In most cases, you don’t sit down and do everything in succession, so you probably often get some of these tasks when you sit down in a coffee shop.
But this means that you’re routinely using, unsecured public hotspots.
With only a few useful tools, even the most inexperienced hacker can see practically any information you send over the Web.
And Credit Card information is a popular target for cybercriminals because this info is used on multiple sites, often stored, which means it can be taken advantage of instantly, and completely without a trace.
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A secure VPN like NordVPN creates a tunnel that encrypts all of your outgoing and incoming data before it sends it to its destination.
Just think of it like this – you wouldn’t read out your PIN while making a withdrawal on a busy street corner.
Well, using a VPN is like going into a private room, and making all of your transactions there, confident that your payment goes to the right place.
2. Be Cautious at Gas Pumps
Even though in-store frauds will surely fall because of EMV cards, gas stations are a completely different story, because most gas stations will not convert to EMV-enabled terminals in the near future.
They were supposed to make the switch at the start of the year; however, the major processors pushed the deadline to 2020. And from the look of things, the deadline could be pushed again.
All of this means, that gas stations will remain risky, at least for the next three years.
And stations all across the country have already been victimized by criminals who put too-hard-to-detect skimmers on top of existing card readers, in an effort to capture credit card information of the station’s customers.
But there are a couple of ways to protect you.
For starters, you should only use pumps that are closer to the station, because crooks have a tendency to install these skimmers on distant pumps.
Moreover, whenever you have the time, go inside the store or station and pay for your gas, instead of at the pump.
And if you have to use the reader at the pump, make sure to use your credit card instead of your debit, because this way, you’ll not face any liability with your card company.
3. Freeze Your Credit
Statistics have shown that in countries that have adopted EMV cards, in-store fraud lessened drastically, however, app fraud increased, so you should expect that to happen in the United States as well. When you think about it, it makes complete sense.
Faced with a lack of credit card numbers to steal, thieves will turn to use personal data stolen in other breaches, in order to open new accounts in the victim’s name.
The problem is, while the victim can catch these data breaches by checking their credit reports, they can only identify frauds that have already occurred.
Thankfully, you can easily prevent this type of fraud by freezing your credit. You just have to tell the credit bureau that you don’t want anyone to look at your credit.
Furthermore, a lot of reputable lenders these days will not even open an account without pulling the client’s credit first, and this, naturally, prevents a large majority of application frauds.
This basically means that a criminal cannot open a new credit card in your name. On the other hand, this also disables you from opening a new card, without a permanent thaw of your credit file.
Finally, if you’re not a person that checks their account on a regular basis, you should definitely automate the fraud detection process.
Fortunately, most large issuers today will let you set up some kind of mobile notifications that will alert you if your card had some unusual activity, such as spending that doesn’t fit your pattern or any transactions in unusual locations.