Credit card fraud is a pervasive form of identity theft. Cardholders should know that identity thieves have myriad paths to their card data and take active steps to block those paths.
Data security experts say one way to prevent credit card hackers, or at least minimize the damage, is to know the signs that your card has been hacked in the first place.
Here are the biggest “red flags” that alert you to credit card data theft:
1. You notice strange purchases
The single biggest red flag when it comes to credit card fraud is finding unknown purchases on your credit card statement. It’s important to check your credit card statements regularly to stay vigilant.
2. You notice small charges on your account
The moment a data thief gets access to a stolen card, they will make small charges that won’t trigger any red flags. If the card works, the thief may move into incrementally larger charges as quickly as possible.
The most effective way to catch fraud in real time is to sign up for alerts and notifications of all your charges.
3. You have unfamiliar company names on your statement
When you make a payment on your credit card, the name of the business’ parent company will actually appear on your credit card statement.
If unfamiliar names appear on your statement, notify your credit card company as soon as possible to dispute the charges. You can also Google unfamiliar names you see to make sure a name isn’t something you did charge before calling to report fraud.
4. You see payments in other locations
Double check every single purchase appearing in another destination when you haven’t been there, as it can denote a fraudulent transaction.
5. A lower available credit balance
A big red flag to most consumers should be the appearance of a diminished credit line from unexplained pending charges.
Many card issuers today provide valuable information to their cardholders by way of online banking and account activity alerts to aid in the detection of questionable transactions.
Recognizing the warning signs of credit card fraud is one thing, but taking the necessary steps to stay ahead of fraud activity is even better.
Find a healthy balance between the two, and keep your plastic better protected in the future.
For more information about credit and security, see the following articles: