We live in a world of information and technology. As credit card use becomes a common occurrence around the world, credit card information is at a greater risk for theft. Fortunately, there are many simple ideas to help you protect your credit card information and prevent you from ever experiencing credit card fraud.
Keep your credit cards safe
Put your credit cards in a purse or wallet close to your body. Only carry one or two credit cards at any time. Keep the rest safely at home. Do not leave your credit cards out as thieves can take pictures of your card with a camera or phone. Put your card away as soon as your purchase is completed.
Avoid giving out your credit card information
Only give out your credit card information on calls that you initiate. If you call up your credit card company, do not use a number left on your answering machine, but instead always use the number listed on the back of your card.
Be careful who you give your credit card information to
While we are often more careful with our information when we are online or talking on the phone, unfortunately, fraud is often carried out by people we know. So, take extra care when deciding to give out your information to family or friends. Do they really need to have the information?
Go to retailers that use a chip reader
It is safer to insert your card into a chip reader than simply swiping it through the machine. When you insert your card, the reader takes the information off the chip and when you swipe the card the reader takes the information off the magnetic strip. The information on the chip is more secure than the information on the magnetic strip, which means inserting your card into a chip reader is preferable.
Do not send your information by Mail, Email, or Text
Once you send sensitive information in this manner, you no longer have control over who sees it. If you have to give out your information, do it in person or over the phone.
Avoid unsecured websites
Websites that do not use proper encryption techniques are easily hacked by fraudsters. If a site is secure, you will see a padlock on the left of the address bar at the top of your browser. Website addresses that begin with HTTPS are secure while those that begin with HTTP are not secure. Only give out your credit card information on secure websites.
Use a Money belt when travelling.
Tourists are more vulnerable to pickpockets. To keep your wallet safe use a money belt that is not easily noticeable or accessible to anyone but you.
Create strong passwords and keep them safe
Your credit card number may be stored in any number of places online. Make sure you create strong passwords using a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and other characters, making it hard for someone to guess your password. Also, avoid writing down your passwords or using the same password for multiple cards.
Set up a fraud alert or credit freeze at the first sign of trouble
If you believe someone has access to your credit card information, contact the credit bureaus, and set up a fraud alert or credit freeze. If you set up a fraud alert and a thief tries to use your card, the credit card company will typically call you to verify your identity and confirm that you are the one using the card. If you set a credit freeze, creditors cannot access your credit reports, making it impossible for them to approve a credit application.
Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately
Do not wait to report lost or stolen credit cards. As soon as you realize they are missing, cancel your credit cards to prevent any fraudulent charges. Write down your credit card company’s customer service number in a safe place, such as in your phone, so that you will have it if you ever lose your credit card.
Check Gas stations and ATMs for credit card skimmers
Credit card thieves can place credit card skimming devices onto the credit card readers at gas pumps or ATMs. These skimmers store your credit card information and the thieves return later to get the device and download the information. The skimmers are placed on the regular credit card swipe, so if something does not look right, report it and go to another gas pump or ATM.
Review your billing statements each month
Unauthorized charges on your credit card are often the first sign of credit card fraud. If you notice a charge you did not make, report it immediately. It does not matter if the charge is big or small, they should all be reported to prevent further fraudulent charges.
Shred anything with your credit card number on it
Do not toss your credit card billing statements or receipts directly into the trash. Shred them instead, to prevent thieves from getting their hands on your information.
Sign new cards immediately
Once your signature is on the card, it is harder for someone else to use it in the event that you misplace or lose the card.
While the only way to completely avoid any chance of credit card fraud is to not have any credit cards in the first place, this is simply not practical for most people. To minimize chances of credit card fraud, take these simple steps and increase the safety of your credit card information.
When you receive a new credit card, check the credit card company’s policies regarding fraud and the steps you need to take to avoid paying any unauthorized charges.
Follow the above guidelines, be on the lookout for any unusual activity, and report any concerns immediately. It is better to be wrong than have a large fraudulent bill that you are responsible for paying off.
Considering getting a credit card?
The best credit card for you would depend on your personal circumstance and how you intend to use your credit card. We have put together a list of some of the best credit cards in New Zealand to help you find the best credit card in NZ to suit your individual needs. Alternatively, you can narrow down your search by credit card type such as interest free credit card, low rate credit card, balance transfer, credit card reward or air nz credit card