Leakages of customer information through major retailers like Target, Whole Foods Forever 21, or Sears have been enormous stories in the news media in the latest years.
However, credit card data is stolen and breached regularly. Generally, we do not hear about it since it is not such a major loss. Receiving a mail from the bank that your credit or debit card needs to be changed because data has been compromised, means it’s happening to you.
Usually, the bank is gets informed by the company about the breach. The bank then checks if they have to issue you a different card. However, you can also learn to protect yourself on the occasion this ever happens to you.
To protect your balances and monitor it for stolen identity, take these five steps, and learn where not to use your card to avoid information theft.
Use Your Card Wisely
A very important thing to do is only use your card on reliable sites. This will lower your risk of losing information.
Always be sure that the page is secure before you enter your card details. This is something you should do repeatedly. One hint is this: a site is secure if it starts with https as a replacement for http.
If you are not certain about a webpage, read reviews to confirm there are no problems.
Beware skimmers that are placed into ATMs or anywhere you use your card. They are used to illegally gather your card data. Don’t use ATM, if something doesn’t look right.
Track Your Balance
Banks and credit card firms give you a definite time frame to report suspicious activity on your account. If you fail to report it within the period, then you become accountable for the charge. A common window is 24 hours after a falsified charge is made.
However, you can dispute individual charges after they appear on your statement for a set period, usually at least a month. But be sure to check your bank’s policy to know the period for your accounts.
By checking the transactions on your cards every day or weekly, you can catch counterfeit activity more speedily and call the bank to stop illegal charges.
See Your Credit Report
Hackers may use the stolen information to steal your identity. This means that the unauthorized activity will not show up on your present accounts. In its place, hackers will open new accounts using your name.
If you track your credit report regularly, you can catch this activity. You have a right to ask for a credit report from any of the three bureaus once a year for free. If you use these three once every four months, you can observe your credit all through the year.
Report Fraudulent Activity
When you discover credit card activity that you did not perform, you have to dispute the item. Contact the bank involved, and inform them there has been falsified activity.
The next step is to file a police report. You need to send a copy of this report to reverse the payments or to close down the fake account. This can be a time-consuming process. The procedure is the same as your credit report. You need to contact both the credit agencies and the police to have your report checked.
Where Not to Use Your Credit Card
Think before you swipe your card. Instead of using outdoor ATM keep to bank-owned ATMs, or go to the bank. The fact is ATM fees, and outdoor ATMs are more likely to be hacked.
The risky places include small businesses, flea markets, temporary shops, and gas stations. Sometimes skimmer devices may steal your information. Also, avoid online shopping while using public WiFi or public computers. By doing this, you’re setting yourself up to get hacked.
Sign Up for Credit Monitoring Services
Try to use credit-monitoring services or identity theft insurance offered by credit card companies. This service can be costly, so consider it before you sign up. It can be helpful to get help if your identity is stolen or prevent it from taking place. Getting it before something bad happens will save you the stress of dealing with stolen identity or falsified charges in the first place.