Credit card fraud can happen anytime, even if you practice caution. Situations are not all the same, the factors involved are different, and the people trying to break into your credit card are different.
Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean we just leave it all to hope that no nightmare could happen to our credit accounts. It still makes sense to practice utmost caution, especially in places and situations where it is risky to use your credit card. Here are they.
Public Wi-Fi, Hotspots, and Computer Terminals
Just because they are free and available for use doesn’t mean that you should, especially when you’re doing a financial transaction such as purchasing something using your mobile phone, where security is not as robust as a desktop computer system. In the case of public computers such as the ones found in airports or cafes, you don’t really know how secure the network is. Computers are used by everyone, which means applications downloaded by someone may have contained malicious programs that run in the background, designed to steal your most confidential information.
Merchants including utilities or subscription companies encourage their customers to use automatic payments to avoid missing due dates, and having their mobile data plans cut, for instance. While this is a good idea from a convenience point of view, it is a terrible idea for your security. Horrors of over billings, or customers continually paying even if their subscription has already ended, are not uncommon. You know that banks charge quickly but take forever to reverse errors on payments. This not only causes hassle on your end, but may even cost you money to contact and process your request.
Non-secure checkout pages
When buying something online, make sure that the website you are transacting with is secure. One hint is that the website takes you to a secured domain (an “https://” site instead of “http://” only), and it has trust seals plastered on their page. Examples of badges are “Verisign,” “McAfee Secure” or “PayPal Verified.” Most of all, never deal with bogus sites. Even if the item you are looking to buy is only found in a bogus or non-secure site, always think twice before you enter your card details.
ATM Terminals in unlikely places
You would not want to transact in ATM terminals that are found in places where foot traffic is less. These ATMs are easier for hackers to penetrate or install skimming devices on the keypads, because nobody is there to watch them. It also makes sense to avoid using them because someone else might just be watching and waiting for the right moment to pounce on you.
Complains of fraud in gas stations are not uncommon, as it is fairly easy to install skimming devices on cash registers. And if the cash register is hidden away from your view inside a glass office, then you won’t really know what they are doing with your card. They could be taking photos or skimming it while you’re in your car, waiting for the transaction to complete.
When paying for restaurant bills, it’s also common for us to just let the waiter take your card and have the transaction processed at the cashier. Just like the gas station scenario, this transaction is hidden away from your view, and if the person who has your card has evil intentions, he or she already knows what to do with it.