How to Reduce the Risk of Becoming a Victim of Credit Card Fraud
June 5th, 2018 by Bunch & Brock
Every year, an increasing number of people fall victim to identity theft, including credit card fraud. According to the nonprofit Identity Theft Resources Center, data breaches in the U.S. hit an all-time high in 2017, exposing over 14 million credit cards to potential criminal activity. More than ever, it is crucial to take steps to reduce your risk of becoming a credit card fraud victim.
While there is nothing you can do to prevent a data breach at Target or Home Depot, you can move quickly to protect your credit accounts. You should also do all you can to avoid becoming a victim of the targeted telephone and internet scams that are rampant today. Although the new chip technology has helped curb ATM and retail store skimming, other forms of credit card fraud are on the rise, according to Fortune Magazine.
Popular scams entice victims to share personal and credit card information by email or over the phone, providing data that criminals use to make fraudulent purchases. For example, a caller posing as your electricity provider may threaten to shut off your power if you don’t make an immediate payment. Don’t fall for it.
The following are tips you can use to avoid becoming a credit card fraud victim:
- NEVER give out your personal information, especially credit card numbers, to someone who has unexpectedly called you or sent you an email/text. Understand that the IRS, your utility company, or any business you have an account with would never ask you to provide or “verify” your personal information by email or over the phone. If you receive any “urgent” requests, hang up and telephone the organization yourself.
- Always be suspicious of a “too good to be true” offer or request you receive by text or email. Grammatical errors in the text are a clue that the sender is from a foreign country and likely not who they claim to be. If you don’t recognize the sender, it’s best to avoid clicking on any email or text message links.
- Monitor your debit and credit card accounts online daily. If you see anything suspicious, immediately report it to the bank or cardholder.
- For debit/credit cards, take advantage of your bank’s protection and security options, which you can often find in your “settings” for online banking. You can ensure that you receive an email when, for example, a large transaction is posted or when any online or telephone charge is authorized for your credit card.
- If a breach occurs at a store you have frequented, consider cancelling the card you used and order a new one. (Be sure to update any company using the old card for automatic payment withdrawals.)
- If you are impacted by credit card or other types of identity theft, place a fraud alert on your credit report. You can contact Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion to put a 90-day fraud alert or extend it to seven years in extreme cases. A call to either agency provides an alert to all vendors that encourages extra identity scrutiny prior to authorizing purchases.
If you are a victim of any financial circumstance that has become overwhelming, you may need the advice of a seasoned attorney. Bunch & Brock offers legal and financial services to individuals and business owners. For prompt assistance, please contact us online or give us a call today.