Mardi Gras is right around the corner. Along with some last minute shopping necessities to celebrate the festivities, there are a few steps you can take to protect your credit card.
Before you let the good times roll, we highly recommend starting this series from the beginning with Types of Credit Card Fraud before continuing on.
Do not be afraid of these schemes. If you are careful enough, nothing will happen to your credit. Here are a few precautions that you can take to protect yourself from the fraudsters:
1. Never Share Your Credit Card Details
- Genuine agents from banks or credit card companies will never call you and ask you for the credit card number, expiration date, or CVV number as part of any verification process. You should know this information well and never divulge it to anyone
online or offline.
- Always ensure that you type in your bank URL on the address bar of your browser, rather than clicking a link on a mail you receive. Phishing perpetrators usually set up a website that looks similar to your bank’s website to fool you into giving
your credit card details.
- You should look at the address bar and ensure that the browser verifies the site’s security certificate. In Chrome, it should say “Secure” with a green padlock in the address bar. Without ensuring the authenticity of the site, do
not put in your credit card details.
2. Keep Checking Your Account
- Rather than checking your monthly statement for any anomalies, you should keep checking your credit card account online once in a week and ensure there are no unusual transactions.
- Small charges also shouldn’t escape your scrutiny. Small charges on your account may well be an indicator that someone is trying to test your CVV number. Be vigilant and ensure you inform your bank about any unusual charge you find.
3. Never Let Your Card Go out of Your Sight
- When you are giving your card for payment, ensure that it is still in sight.
- Do not give your PIN to anyone; rather, insist on typing your PIN yourself on the POS machine. It may be difficult for you to check whether the POS device used by the merchant is genuine or can skim your card. But if you think anything unusual is
happening, take your card back.
4. Check Your Credit Report
- You are entitled to a free credit report every year from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian through AnnualCreditReport.com. You can use this
to verify if your identity has been used by someone else to make transactions.
- The credit report will give you detailed evidence of any fraudulent activities in your name. To protect yourself better, you can initiate a fraud alert with your credit bureau, so that the banks or creditors are informed every time a credit request
comes in your name. You need to initiate the fraud alert with only one of the agencies; the other two will receive automatic notifications.
5. Check Where You Swipe Your Card
- There are many skimming methods to steal your card information; some attach a skimming device inconspicuously to the ATM. Gas stations, department stores, etc., also may have compromised POS machines with the skimmer placed on them.
- Usually, the skimmer on a POS machine can be detected if you look carefully for any unusual projecting parts. There are also some YouTube videos that can help you identify a skimmer at any POS.
You might say it pays to be paranoid in today’s world full of crooks and thieves. In case of credit cards, the main issue is their prevalence. Almost 72% of people have them, but only a fraction understand the technology and its vulnerabilities.
If you are more careful with your credit card, you can avoid scams easily.
For more information on Protecting Yourself from Fraud, please check back for the rest of the series:
For more information regarding your security with Chevron Federal Credit Union and how to report a lost or stolen credit card, please visit Security Central.
BALANCE is an amazing resource for all our members to utilize when taking on life's milestones. With trusted guidance available for free, they are ready to help everyone on the path to financial wellness. This article and many more can be found on their website: balancepro.org.