3 Crucial Things You Must Do To Prevent Credit Card Fraud And Identity Theft

3 Crucial Things You Must Do To Prevent Credit Card Fraud And Identity Theft

Your oversharing may cost you. Read on to learn how to effectively prevent credit card fraud.

We’ve all heard horror stories of credit card fraud. You get your bill right on time, and everything’s fine and dandy until you see how much you owe. After skimming through the bill, you find purchases that you’re 110% positive that you didn’t make: two MacBook Airs? Three cases of Red Bull? A week’s stay at a four-star hotel six hours away from you?

Your credit card company might notify you right away if they notice any suspicious activity, but the thing is, they don’t notice everything. According to CNBC, here are some red flags that credit card companies watch out for.

How To Avoid Credit Card Frauds:

  • If a charge has been made outside of your geographic zone.

    • Plan on going out of the country soon? Better notify your credit card company about your plans so they don’t block your card!
  • Unusual purchases.

    • If you usually only use your card to book flights or pay for groceries, and your bank suddenly detects an online shopping spree on luxury goods, that’ll raise some alarms.
  • Strange spending patterns.

    • Identity thieves often make small purchases (e.g. a pizza, petrol) first to check if your card is still active, followed by a large one (e.g. a flat-screen TV, a Prada bag).

Even though you’ll probably get your money back after reporting this activity to your credit card issuer, it’ll be a huge hassle, especially if you can’t figure out who took your information. Sometimes, it’ll be easy ($200 on World of Warcraft gold? You should probably have a talk with your son.).

Unfortunately, most of the time, even channelling your inner Agatha Christie won’t help you pinpoint who did it. You’ll have to get your credit card blocked, wait for a new one, and make sure that all the services you pay for with a credit card are updated with your new information. It’s not a fun experience.

To avoid this experience altogether, you can protect yourself from identity theft. Here are a few things you can do to prevent credit card fraud.

Prevent credit card fraud: Tip #1. Don’t share sensitive information in the first place

how to avoid credit card frauds

If you’ve shared your credit card details with a friend or a relative, you’re opening yourself up to credit card fraud. That’s why it’s important that we never EVER give our card to anyone.

Even if they don’t use your credit card for fraud, you’ll never know who might be listening. Even just texting your information is dangerous—hackers could tap into your phone and scan through your messages.

Also, be careful what you share on social media. Social media has brought us all closer together in many ways, but there are many aspects of our lives that we really shouldn’t share. Tweak your privacy settings so that personal details like your birthday, your email address, and your phone numbers are only viewable to close friends and family.

Prevent credit card fraud: Tip #2. Regularly check your accounts

how to avoid credit card frauds

Because we can’t rely on our credit card company to notify us if someone uses our credit card without our knowledge, it’s important that we regularly check our accounts. The sooner we notice suspicious activity, the easier it will be to fix the situation. To help you monitor your accounts, you can talk to your bank about setting alerts for transactions over a certain limit.

Prevent credit card fraud: Tip #3. Be aware of phishing schemes

how to avoid credit card frauds

Your bank is NEVER going to ask for your pin. If you get an official-sounding call or email asking for these details, this is probably a phishing attempt. In other words, someone is impersonating your bank/telecom provider/etc. to get your details. NEVER reveal your card number, pin, or security answer over the phone or email.

Prevent credit card fraud: Tip #4. Use more secure means of payment

how to avoid credit card frauds

You could add another layer of security by using a third-party payment service like Google Wallet, Paypal, Apple Pay, and so forth. This is especially useful when shopping on unfamiliar sites—instead of inputting your sensitive information everywhere you shop, you have all of that in one secure service. Plus, these services often offer buyer protection, which means you get a refund in case you get scammed or if your order doesn’t arrive.

READ: Be Informed: 4 Common Scams Most Women Fall For