Credit card fraud is a serious problem in the United States. As recently as 15.4 million Americans were credit card fraud victims in 2016. And despite the best efforts of financial institutions, lawmakers, and law enforcement, it doesn’t look like the situation will get better. It looks like credit card fraud is here to stay.
While you might not be able to completely protect yourself from credit card fraud, there are some things you can do to help you cope in a world where credit card fraud runs rampant.
The first thing you need to do is make sure your credit card is always in a safe location. Whenever you are out and about, keep your credit card securely tucked in your wallet. Don’t take your fingers off the card (or set it down on a sales counter) until it’s been safely restored to your wallet.
When you go out, don’t take all of your credit and debit cards. Only take the one or two that you need. The fewer cards you have on hand, the smaller the odds are that you’ll accidentally lose one to an opportunistic credit card thief.
When shopping online, only use your credit card on secure sites, and make sure you delete the information once you’ve completed your purchase.
Don’t set up your phone with an auto option for your credit card. If you use this and your phone is lost/stolen. It’s likely the thieves will figure out how to hack into your phone and access both your credit card and online banking information.
Speaking of online banking, if that’s something you do, get into the habit of changing your login password every few weeks. Doing this decreases the odds of someone hacking into your banking information.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to help protect your credit cards is to set things up so that each time your card is used, an instant alert is sent to your phone. Yes, getting a notification each time you spend a dollar or two on a candy bar is irritating, but it’s the best way to know if an unauthorized charge was made using your card.