Ten Ways to Prevent Credit Card Fraud
Preventing credit card fraud or having your identity stolen has become even more of a challenge since it has become convenient to connect to public wi-fi hotspots, surf with your smartphone, and the profuse use of your credit card for practically every transaction. Now, more than ever, you have to be alert to your surroundings and be certain about the security of your online connections. It only takes one second for credit card scammers to be able to access your information before they destroy your credit rating by charging thousands on your credit card and opening up other credit cards to charge even more. It will take months and even years of trying to undo what only took a second to happen. Along the way, endless frustration and even more money to clear up your credit history adds to the damage.
According to Creditcards.com there are ten high-risk situations regarding use of your credit card that you should be aware to minimize the occurrence of fraud.
- Be careful of non-bank owned ATMs. Encryption is not as thorough and the machines are easier to hack. In addition, since these ATMs are not well-recognized, there have been incidences where false ATMs machines were put in place to gather credit card information from unsuspecting users.
- Don't use credit cards at flea markets. The vendors at flea markets are transient and may not be easy to locate and you are not sure if they are legitimate merchandisers or are scam artists posing as vendors. Be suspicious if they want you to use your credit card instead of cash. If the vendor uses carbon copies to record the transaction instead of online credit card terminals, it may be harder for the credit card company to reverse a charge and you have no idea how well the vendor protects the paperwork that has your credit card information.
- Using your credit cards at small foreign shops and cafes while traveling on vacation or for work may expose you to a higher risk of credit card fraud, according to large banks and credit card companies. It is harder to locate these smaller foreign establishments.
- Be sure that your online checkout is secure when you buy with a credit card. The URL should start with "https:" and/or have an icon of a lock at the lower right hand corner of the web page; this lets you know that the connection is private and secure.
- Avoid credit card transactions at wi-fi hotspots and public computers. The unsecured wireless connection at cafes, parks, and other public areas means that your information can be compromised and others may be able to see your information even though the URL is secure. Don't transmit personal information in addition to your credit card information in these public, non-secure wireless environments.
- Avoid automatic billing. Overbilling and continuous billing can easily happen if you do not pay attention. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous merchants who hope that you forget to look at your charges and will continue to bill you when they should have stopped.
- Don't buy through your smart phone. Although convenient, the connection is not secure and currently there are not too many ways to protect your connection. Malware can be transmitted and can easily send out your information.
- Be wary of answering solicitations through your email and buying or donating through the link. You don't know where the email is coming from. If you want to buy or donate money using your credit card and an online resource, go to the organization's main web page and donate through that site.
- When shopping online, use a web page that uses a .com extension instead of a foreign or strange domain extension. Having a non ".com" extension, it may not be legitimate and may be harder to trace if problems occur.
- Does the swipe terminal on the ATM look abnormal? There have been reports that scam artists have mounted separate stand alone devices on legitimate ATMs so that they can retrieve your credit or debit card information. Be aware of how the ATM looks. If there are four ATMs and one doesn't look like the rest, be suspicious and think twice about using it.
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