Credit Card fraud can happen in a variety of ways ranging from from a low tech theft to a high tech hacking and may include risks like application fraud, lost/ stolen cards, account takeover, skimming, triangulation etc. You can protect yourself from becoming victim of a fraud by taking following precautions:
1) Keep a check on mobile alerts:
It is important to subscribe to mobile/ e-mail alert facility on your card to keep a track on all your credit card transactions. You should always read through the complete messages sent by your card provider on your mobile to keep a check on any invalid transaction. In case, you notice any unauthorized transaction on your credit card, contact your customer care service immediately and report the faulty transaction.
2) Review your monthly statement:
In addition to checking your mobile/ e-mail alerts, you should also review monthly statements of your credit cards promptly. If you notice any unusual transaction in your statement, you can report this to your card issuer within 30-60 days of receiving your credit card statement. If you find difficult to remember all your purchases, then it is better to save all your receipts and compare it with your credit card statement each month.
3) Exercise caution while you swipe your card:
Whenever you swipe your credit card at any POS terminal, ensure to keep your eye on your card and make sure you get it back before you walk away. Never sign a blank receipt. You can draw a line through any blank spaces above the total amount mentioned on the receipt.
4) Online Fraud:
To prevent online fraud, keep an updated anti-virus on your computer/ laptop. Whenever you enter your credit card details over the internet, always ensure that the URL address of the website should start with https (where s stand for security) and not http. Also, if there is a sign of closed padlock located in the right corner of the screen, it signifies a secure website.
Before doing any transaction from online retailers and merchant websites, make sure to check for safe digital certificates that can authenticate the website. For example: Check for text like ‘Verified by MasterCard’ , VeriSign etc. as these are popular authentication service provider which helps users to make sure that the website they are dealing with is genuine and not some fraudulent imposter.
5) Always verify the source and use secure network:
You should never go to your bank or credit card account online by clicking on links from an e-mail. It is advisable to visit your net banking/ credit card account through the Bank/ Credit Card issuers’ website. Avoid doing financial transactions while you are using public computer or public Wi-Fi connection. If you are using shared computer with any friend, colleague etc., then it is advisable to use virtual keypad while entering net banking/ credit card password as this ensures security even if your computer is infected by any virus.
6) Notify your Card issuer for address change:
Your credit card provider should have your updated information all the time. Always ensure to inform your credit card provider whenever you update your address, phone number and email.
7) Do not share your credit card details:
Do not share your credit card details, especially the password and PIN, with anyone (not even the customer care executive). Always ensure to enter or key-in your IPIN over the conversation with customer care and do not spell it out as this can lead to sharing of sensitive information over the phone with a third party.
8) Use chip based credit cards:
A Chip Card is a Credit Card with an embedded microchip. The Chip is encrypted and provides enhanced security and protection to help guard against fraudulent transactions. When you use your Chip Card at stores or restaurants that have Chip-enabled terminals and at ATMs, the system validates the Chip ensuring security of your transaction. These cards offer better security than credit cards with black magnetic stripes and makes changing or copying the data extremely difficult. So, the chance of data being misused while swiping the card is very remote.
9) Always shop from reputed merchants online:
Doing online transaction from reputed merchant websites make sure your security is not compromised. A lot of small vendors may not have adequate security mechanisms in place that could lead to compromise of all user sensitive information in the future. Also check for a confirmation email/ mobile alert once you complete any financial transaction to make sure the money you have paid has reached the merchant.
10) Notify your card issuer before you travel overseas:
Whenever you travel overseas, your card is exposed to additional risks of skimming or cloning data wherein your card’s magnetic stripe is recorded when swiped at a machine. This information is then used to make duplicate or cloned credit card. But if you inform your credit card issuer before your travel, they can insure themselves against the risks beforehand, keep track of your credit card and provide you global assistance during your trip.
People need to be more aware and educated about identity theft. You need to be a little bit wiser, a little bit smarter and there’s nothing wrong with being skeptical. We live in a time when if you make it easy for someone to steal from you, someone will. -Frank Abagnale