Ways to avoid credit card fraud

Whether you shop in-person or online, protecting sensitive information such as your credit card number is essential to your financial health. Keeping the following measures in mind can help prevent credit card fraud while protecting you and your credit card information.

Don’t give out your card number

When prompted via email, chat or by phone to provide your card number (or even its last four digits), it’s important to think twice before doing so.

Unless you’re absolutely sure you’re dealing with someone you can trust, don’t disclose your credit card number. If you’re unsure, contact the company or agency making the request to make sure the communication is legitimate.

Only shop on trusted websites

If an email or online ad touts a deal that sounds too good to be true, it may very well be. Clicking a link may send you to a suspicious shopping site or one that’s posing as a reputable retailer.

Double-check the web address of the site to make sure it’s what it claims to be. Better still, begin your online shopping by typing in the addresses of sites you know and trust, rather than following external links.

Don’t store card numbers with online retailers

Even when you’ve taken steps to confirm you’re using a reputable online store, don’t save your card information in your online shopping account. If someone obtains access to your shopping account, they could use your stored password to make purchases without even having to know your card number.

Be wary of verification texts

Scammers’ use of text messages is on the rise, and one of their ploys is pretending to be a credit card issuer verifying your identity.

While you may be wary of anyone asking you for your credit card number, scammers might ask for less obviously critical information, such as the amount of your last statement balance or the location of your last transaction. These are questions real card issuers might ask to confirm your identity, and the scammer is hoping to use them to impersonate you so they can hijack your account.

Instead of responding to a text seeking personal information, contact your card provider directly and ask if there are issues with your account.

Guard your cards

The same features that make purchases with tap-and-pay cards easy for you can do the same for anyone who has your card. If your card is stolen, a thief can quickly rack up purchases with ease.

This means it’s more important than ever to take care with whom you allow to take possession of your cards. Keep an eye out for odd transactions if your card has been out of your sight when making a payment, like at a restaurant. If your card is stolen or goes missing, take action immediately to cancel it and stop unauthorized payments.

Know (and use) your card’s security features

Using your card issuer’s smartphone app can help you manage your account, make payments, track transactions, and, in many cases, allow you to disable the card temporarily if you’ve misplaced it or are concerned it has been stolen.

To learn about protecting your accounts, see the following articles: