How to Protect Yourself against Credit Card Fraud
With the emerging number of data breaches on a daily basis, your sensitive personal and financial data are being threatened continuously. Media coverage and data statistics illuminate this trend, as nearly 60 million credit and debit cards were affected by recent breaches at large retailers. These incidents are occurring almost daily, whereby nearly a quarter of all consumers have experienced some form of fraud or identity theft.
Cyber attackers and thieves are incentivized by lucrative gains for defrauding you and your credit information. Since the rate of data breaches are widespread now, it is necessary that you to take measures to protect your sensitive data and identity information. It is not possible to stop intruders from hacking your sensitive data and information when they attack your favorite retail companies.
At the same time, you can make smart, precautionary measures to safeguard your data and make it difficult to access and use within your immediate domain to ensure you financial security and future. Below are some easy steps to follow to better protect your identity and credit information.
Make a Change
Be sure to order new cards and account information, if you suspect a data breach concerning your identity or credit. Be sure to express your desire clearly, as sometime firms may be hesitant to make changes if there is not compelling support. Trust your instinct and judgment when encountering such moments.
In the meantime while you are waiting for your new card, it is necessary to ensure that no fraudulent charges are debited to your account. Hence, instead of waiting for the monthly statement, check your account status on a regular basis to stay vigilant against any suspicious charges.
Many people overlook the necessity of a complex password in securing their accounts. You can generate strong passwords comprised of random letters and numbers, while having the flexibility to change them as frequently as possible. Keep in mind that the passwords that are easy for you to remember are probably easy for a shrewd cyber thief to crack as well. As a result, be creative and tough in developing your password protection.
Take a Moment
Once you are caught in a data breach, the first step is to call the three credit bureaus and request that they freeze your credit card. This will immediately stop anybody from accessing your credit report without your authorization. This will invariably stop the creditors from approving an application without access to the person’s credit report.
When you are really concerned about potential data breaches, as a last measure, you can freeze your accounts, which protects you from further fraud activities. Yet, this makes it cumbersome to avail any kind of credit for both you and a potential lender. So, consider this is a last resort if you suspect an identity breach.
Check your Credit
You are eligible for a free annual credit report by law. Yet, if you have experienced identity fraud, you are probably entitled to more frequent credit reports. Though you have not been targeted yet, it is best to be proactive and get your free reports regularly. Experts recommend you acquire at least one credit report once every four months.
Go Without the Protection
However tempted you are, it is advisable to stay away from paying $300 for yearly credit monitoring services. Instead, you can smartly monitor your own accounts by analyzing the information you can get free of charge. In case you have subscribed to a company service free of charge, it is necessary to ensure that you cancel their service before renewal the date, as you will incur a charge at that time.
Avoid the Phish
It is not necessary for a cyber-thief to have immediate access to all of your credit card number details to acquire access to your account’s expiration date or the CVV number. So, beware of phishing, which is a scam where the thief probably sends you an email or calls you on the phone in order to gain the rest of the information about your credit card. Never give away any of your sensitive information to an unknown person. In case you receive a message for any such information, immediately verify the credibility of that person by checking the company website or calling them directly.