When money is involved, the highest level of security must be practiced, especially by credit card holders who are often the target of thieves.
Here are some tips to help protect yourself from credit card theft, be it online or offline.
Never ever divulge your credit card details to anyone. Ever.
It’s common sense but there are still individuals who fall prey to this classic fraud practice. Realize that no one in the world, who means no evil intention, will ever ask for this every confidential information. However, fraudsters are smart enough to design ways to mine this information and even pick the gullible ones. They will contact you via phone, text messages, or e-mail you a message that will ask you to click on a link to a website, which then asks for your details. They don’t need to take the card itself from you; they only need your details.
In case you stumble upon any of these tactics, never ever budge no matter what. Hang up, delete the email, ignore the text message and just laugh at it.
Store your statements securely and dispose them properly
Have a secure place for your printed statements as they may contain sensitive data. Don’t just chuck them on your office desk or throw them in a trash bin. Shred them before disposing, or if you’ve got a fireplace at home, they’ll make a good kindling. You can never tell when a thief is around so better be safe than be sorry later on.
Don’t shop at obscure online shopping sites
Do your online shopping only at well-known and trusted websites. You probably know what they are. These sites usually have a trust seal located at the top or bottom of their webpage. Likewise, these well-established online shopping sites already have a quality e-commerce infrastructure that is least likely to have a glitch while you are paying your bill. Less glitch, less hassle on your part trying to contact customer support and asking for a refund.
Likewise, avoid doing your shopping on public or semi-public computers where other people have access, such as public libraries and Internet cafes. When using a mobile phone, don’t shop using a public Wi-Fi connection, or better yet, don’t do your shopping on a mobile phone as it is more vulnerable to attacks than a desktop computer. Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus, anti-spyware protection and a firewall.
Use a separate credit card solely for online shopping
If your bank offers you a free online shopping card with a credit limit tied to your normal credit card, then go for it. You may assign a minimal credit limit to that card, so that in case of credit card theft, your damages is limited to that amount.
Last but not least, have a presence of mind when handling your credit card. Don’t just leave it anywhere like it’s on display. There might be individuals who do not intend to take it from you, but may ask if they can ride on your credit (as they’re maxed out or disapproved for a credit application recently.) This could force you to give away your details that no one else is supposed to know.