Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Cybersecurity and Credit Cards: 3 Ways to Protect Yourself From Fraud

There’s no questioning the convenience of a credit card. Aside from being an easy way to pay for bills upfront, credit cards can help build a credit score and offer rewards. This year, many are expecting a credit card boom as contactless transactions, economic recovery plans, and sustainability efforts increase. Presently, there are approximately 2.8 billion credit cards in the world and counting. This also comes hot on the heels of a global eCommerce boom triggered by COVID-19.

However, as the market for credit cards grows, so does the aggressiveness of credit card hackers. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig warned against an increase in phishing schemes. Although a credit card advantage, as per an article on credit versus debit by Petal, is allowing holders to legally dispute transactions without freezing any assets, although it’s still important to be vigilant. The stress and vulnerability of having data compromised can—and should—be avoided.

1. Enable Redundant Security Authorisations

Any website that requires a password can be linked back to your sensitive information. E-commerce sites, in particular, often have a one-click payment option that has already saved your transaction information, but these can be used to connect to your other accounts by a skilled hacker. To combat this, enable two-factor authentication protocols. According to The Balance’s guide to securing passwords, it is also best to randomly change your passwords and pins every 90 days. Try adding numbers, symbols, and a mix of upper- and lower-case characters. This can also be helpful, since some card providers also allow holders to include inputting a password before processing any transaction.

2. Avoid Sharing Your Credit Card Information

There are many ways for crafty thieves to gather your information. Last year, the FBI warned of cybercriminals posing as charitable organisations or healthcare professionals. By doing so, they gathered sensitive data over a simple phone call. Another way that phishers do this is via fake ecommerce sites. Only input your personal information at reputable sites that must have a https:// in the address field and a padlock icon in the address bar. Even when you’re out in public, never write down your card information. Shred—don’t just toss—any paper with your data on it.

3. Regularly Review Credit Charges

Not all fraudulent charges are obnoxiously large. Some scammers keep charges small so that they can continue using the card without arousing suspicion. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said credit card fraud has increased by as much as 40% in one year. Therefore, it’s important to review your billing statements as soon as they come in. Keep your transaction receipts and compare these against charges listed. As soon as you notice any erroneous charges, contact your bank immediately. In some cases, missing bills may be a sign of a hijacked account as the thief has changed the card’s billing address. Some card providers can provide transaction alerts that let you know if there have been any international purchases, exceeded limits, or balance transfers.

Despite these cybersecurity threats, the transition of industries online makes it as a good a time as ever to be a credit card holder. Though criminals show no signs of slowing, neither do the efforts of law enforcement and tech experts to secure online transactions.

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