A credit card is arguably a loan that’s easily available. This is because the credit card company doesn’t ask for any collateral when you apply for the loan. Once you have been issued the card, you can use it to pay for services and products. It’s actually designed to be much safer than carrying cash. However, there are fraudsters out there who target credit card users. Popularly known as identity thieves, they will steal or grab your credit card and use your details to pay for their own purchases. Research shows that millions of Americans become victims to this new type of crime. The problem is that the fraudsters leave you paying a debt that you can’t account for because you are not the one who really spent the money. Here is a list of tips that can help you remain safe when using a credit card to make payments.
1.Use Complicated Passwords
Every credit card comes with a password that helps in preventing unauthorized access. By the rule of thumb, you should use a complicated password that includes numbers, upper and lowercase letters and special characters. Such a password is usually a hard nut to crack. In fact, you should never include your name or date of birth in your password, unless you want the fraudsters to have a walk in the park experience. The easiest way of creating a complex password is selecting a sentence and then picking letters randomly that don’t spell any word and combining the letters with random numbers. Besides that, you should avoid disclosing your password to your friends or relatives because they might be tempted to hack into your credit cards.
2.Beware of Credit Card Skimmers
Credit card skimmers are criminals who manipulate credit card readers by installing a device that records your credit card details at the ATM. They usually like using places that are strategic and are likely to raise any eyebrows such as filling stations and ATMs. They normally come later to collect their device and use the details it has captured to make fake credit cards. When you arrive at a filling station or ATM, you should observe the slot to see whether it has any unusual attachments. Besides that, you should look around to see if there are suspicious people hanging around the facility.
3.Analyze your Billing Report Monthly
The company that issued you with a credit card will send you a statement every month. You should check the statement and confirm that there are no expenses that you can’t account for. In fact, you should compare the statement with the receipts after making every payment. If you notice something fishy in the statement, you should alert the credit card company so that they can trace where and when the payment was made. If you didn’t authorize the payment, it’s obvious that your credit card is being accessed by identity thieves and you should apply for another one.
4.Report Missing and Stolen Cards
Delaying in reporting a card that has been stolen or gone missing to the authorities is a huge mistake. This is because the credit card company will continue billing you as usual even when you are not the one spending the money. When you notify the credit card company, they will start monitoring how the card is being used and they might even help the police in arresting the culprits.
5.Use Card on Legit Websites Only
Although there are thousands of websites on the internet, a considerable number of them are not safe. Such websites don’t encrypt their data meaning that your safety is not guaranteed. You should actually avoid entering your credit card details on such sites. And if they call you to ask for your credit card number, you should only give them just the three digits that are printed at the back of the card. In addition to that, you should burn all the documents that have your credit card number. This helps in ensuring that they don’t get into the wrong hands. Keep in mind that fraudsters like combing through garbage bins in search of such details.