Yes, everyone should be concerned with the safety of their credit cards. With the popularity of online shopping and the prevalence of credit card identity theft, a cardholder should make sure they are taking all of the precautions they can to keep their credit card information safe.
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How can I protect my credit card information when shopping in stores?
Credit card fraud is a prevalent crime, especially during the holiday season when people are shopping more than usual. Malls are hectic and crowded places and often cardholders are more concerned with finding the perfect gift than being aware of their credit card.
The cardholder should know where their wallet is at all times and women should never leave their purses unattended. A thief might not just steal the card, they could copy down the credit card number and then return the card to the wallet without the cardholder realizing. If this happens, they could make purchases online and the cardholder might not realize until their next month’s statement comes in the mail.
When using their credit card in a store the cardholder should be aware of the people behind them while they have their credit card out. People have been known to take photos of someone’s credit card with a cell phone camera and use the information later to make online purchases.
The cardholder should also pay close attention to the retailer to make sure their card is not swiped more than once. In addition, if the retailer takes the credit card to swipe it the cardholder should make sure the device being used looks legitimate. There are small devices that can download the credit card’s information and be used to make a fake credit card later.
How can I protect my credit card information when shopping online?
As the Internet has advanced over the years, the popularity of online credit card shopping has never been higher. By shopping online, people are able to avoid crowds and are able to shop from countless stores without ever leaving their home. For many people, the shipping costs are worth not having to deal with crowded malls and driving out of their way to go to stores that are not in their area.
Even though online shopping has its perks, it can also be a risk to credit card safety. The cardholder should always make sure that they are using a secure website when using their credit card information. A secure website address will begin with https instead of the usual http. A small lock should also be visible somewhere at the bottom right side of the screen. A website that has been verified by companies like Verisign can also be trusted.
It is also important not to give out credit card information through emails. Some thieves send out emails that look like they are from the cardholder’s bank or credit card provider requesting account information. No bank or credit card provider will ever send an email requesting personal financial information so no one should ever respond to these emails.
If you are nervous about using your credit card online, you can use a service like PayPal to make purchases. This service lets a shopper create an online account that is funded by either their credit card or bank account. This service acts as a middleman so the cardholder never has to give their credit card information directly to the retailer. PayPal offers a refund guarantee on unauthorized purchases.
What are other ways I can protect my credit card information?
A cardholder should also be cautious of information that comes through the physical mail. If they receive credit card applications through the mail, they should shred them instead of just throwing them away. Thieves could get these discarded applications out of the trash and fill them out and get a credit card.
The cardholder should also keep their credit cards’ statements in a secure location and shred them when they are no longer necessary. If the cardholder receives a call from someone claiming to be from their bank, asking for account information, they should hang up and call their bank directly to make sure the call was legitimate.
When the cardholder receives a new credit card, they should sign the card immediately. It would also be a good idea to try to find a credit card that puts the cardholder’s picture on the card as a security measure.
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