Credit cards offer a convenient way to make purchases and pay bills. But if you’re not careful, you could unknowingly provide a fraudster with the opportunity to use your credit cards to make unauthorized transactions.
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize your chances of falling victim to the tactics often employed by credit card thieves.
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How Does Credit Card Fraud Work?
Credit card fraud is a type of identity theft that occurs when unauthorized transactions, including purchases and cash advances, are made by someone else.
Are You Vulnerable to Credit Card Fraud?
The sad reality is most credit card users are vulnerable to credit card fraud. However, the extent to which you’re vulnerable depends on the efforts you take to protect your credit card and other personal financial information.
The Best Tips to Prevent Credit Card Fraud
Here are some tips to help shield yourself from credit card fraud.
1. Review Your Monthly Credit Card Statements
It can be tempting to toss your credit card statements in the trash or hit the delete button the minute they appear in your inbox. But it’s not in your best interest to continue doing so. In fact, you should review the transactions that appear to ensure fraudulent activity hasn’t occurred.
2. Monitor Your Credit Regularly
Credit monitoring is a part of the CreditWorksSM Basic membership, which also includes:
- Monthly Experian credit report and FICO score updates
- Experian FICO score tracking and alerts any time your score changes
- Access to Experian Boost to possibly improve your credit right away using payments made to eligible service providers
You can also give yourself peace of mind knowing you’ll be covered in case you become a victim of credit card fraud with Experian Identity Works. There are two plan options to choose from:
- IdentityWorksSM Plus: provides coverage for one adult and includes identity theft monitoring and alerts, dark web surveillance, up to $500,000 in identity theft insurance, lost wallet assistance, real-time alerts on attempted credit inquiries, Experian CreditLock Experian credit monitoring, daily Experian FICO score alerts, a FICO Score Simulator, industry-based FICO scores (i..e bankcard, home and auto) and access to a U.S.-based fraud resolution specialist
- IdentityWorksSM Premium: offers all the same perks as the plus plan and an additional $500,000 in identity theft insurance, three credit-bureau monitoring (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) and quarterly three-bureau FICO score updates
IdentityWorksSM Plus is available for only $9.99 per month following a free 30-day trial. If you’d prefer the Premium plan, it also comes with a free trial, and you’ll pay $19.99 per month to continue coverage.
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3. Keep Your Physical Card and Personal Information Safe
Instead of keeping your credit cards in your wallet, place them in a safe place in your home. Only bring them along when you plan to make purchases to minimize the risk of your credit cards being stolen.
It’s equally important to secure your personal information. Otherwise, it can easily be hijacked by fraudsters and used to apply for credit cards in your name.
4. Set up Transaction Alerts
Most credit card issuers allow you to set up transaction alerts that notify you any time a transaction is made. So, if a purchase or payment is initiated that you have no prior knowledge of, you’ll be able to act swiftly to stop the thief in their tracks.
5. Secure Your Computer and Mobile Phone
Be sure to set up secure passwords on your computer and mobile devices. They shouldn’t be associated with your name, date of birth, address or other information that someone could easily figure out.
6. Practice Safe Online Habits
Only shop on sites that are secured and have “https” in the URL or web address. You also want to avoid storing your credit card number in secure payment portals, like GooglePay, even if it’s for the sake of convenience.
7. Be Aware of Credit Card Fraud Scams
Phishing and skimming are two common tactics employed by credit card fraudsters to steal from consumers. The first of the two is done by getting you to share sensitive financial information by email, postal mail, text or phone. But skimming involves the theft of your credit card information from a payment terminal, like a gas terminal or point of sale inside a store. Your credit card is then cloned for the thief to commit more fraud, or they may resort to only using your information online.