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7 Steps for Safeguarding Yourself Against Credit Card Fraud

7 Steps for Safeguarding Yourself Against Credit Card Fraud Blog Image
Social Media Internet Scams Fraud Blog
By: Bryan Watkinson and Veronica Perez
AVP of Risk Operations and Loss Prevention Supervisor

August 4, 2023

In today's digital age, with the increased convenience and reliance on online shopping, banking, and digital transactions, the risk of credit card fraud has skyrocketed. Billions of dollars 1 have been lost to credit card fraud. Fortunately, while the dangers are real, there are practical steps you can take to protect yourself against such potential threats. There are some essential guidelines to shield your financial security that are always good to keep top of mind.

Understanding Credit Card Fraud

Before delving into the measures for protection, it's important to understand what credit card fraud entails. It's an illicit act where thieves use your card or card information to make unauthorized purchases or even take out loans in your name. This could happen through different methods, including phishing scams, data breaches, card skimming, or even physical card theft. These types of fraud can happen to even the most careful card users so protecting yourself is essential.

Key Strategies for Protecting Yourself

1. Regular Monitoring and Immediate Reporting - Keeping a close eye on your credit card transactions is crucial. Make sure to review your bank statements regularly for any suspicious activity. If you spot an unauthorized charge, contact your bank or credit card company immediately. The quicker you report, the easier it will be to resolve the issue and limit your liability.

2. Use Secure Networks - Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks when making online purchases. Unsecured networks are playgrounds for cybercriminals who can easily intercept your personal data. Always use a private, secure network, preferably with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to encrypt your information.

3. Maintain Strong, Unique Password - Use complex passwords for your online accounts, especially for your banking and credit card accounts. A strong password should include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Furthermore, avoid using the same password for multiple accounts to limit the potential damage if one account is compromised.

4. Be Wary of Phishing Attempts - Fraudsters may try to trick you into revealing your credit card information through emails, text messages, or phone calls pretending to be from your bank or a trusted organization. Be extremely cautious and never give out your information unless you've initiated the contact or you're absolutely certain of the requester's identity.

5. Implement Two-Factor Authentication - Whenever available, use two-factor authentication (2FA). This provides an additional layer of security as it requires two forms of identification before granting access to your account. While this might seem like an inconvenience and additional step to take when accessing your accounts, it can alert you to someone trying to access your account fraudulently.

6. Keep Your Computer and Mobile Devices Secure - Ensure your computer and mobile devices are protected by up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software. Also, keep your operating system and apps updated to the latest version, as these updates often include critical security patches.

7. Dispose of Old Cards Properly - When you no longer need a credit card, don't just toss it in the trash. Shred it or cut it up to ensure nobody can retrieve your card information from it.

Credit card fraud can be distressing and damaging, but by following these precautionary steps, you can significantly reduce your risk. Remember that your financial security is a continuous journey that requires constant vigilance and a proactive approach. Stay safe and make your financial health a top priority.

If you think past or current fraud is affecting your credit an Affinity expert can help you navigate through steps, you need to take. Learn more about our credit counseling services here 2.

This information is for informational purposes only, is intended to provide general guidance, and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice. Each person’s circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, and/or legal counsel to discuss your specific needs before making any financial or other commitments regarding the matters related to your condition.

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