Credit card fraud prevention is important, and it is particularly so online. With the technology available to criminals today, prevention may seem hopeless. Nothing could be further from the truth. See below for 7 ways to avoid online credit card fraud.
Be Careful Who You Purchase Goods and Services From
Install security software, such as AVG, to alert you when a website is a threat - it is your first line of defense. Only buy from reputable websites that have a valid security certificate, otherwise, you may be dealing with a fake version of the actual business, or a dishonest business. A secure site will have a website address that starts with https:// vs. only
Verify Physical Addresses and Reputation
Ensure that there is a physical street address for the company, and verify with the Better Business Bureau that there are no negative reports. Phone numbers are not as useful because with the current technology, it is possible to have a phone number in New Mexico, for instance, but really be based in Ohio, Florida, or even Nigeria. Be on the lookout for very poorly written sales copies – these are sure signs of careless, possibly fraudulent companies.
Utilize Temporary Credit Card Numbers
Temporary or virtual, credit card numbers are for a one-time use only, and cannot be used for any further transactions. Banks have different names for these virtual numbers, but most offer the service and have easy-to-find links on their websites to generate a temporary card number. Use the number like any other credit card number for an online transaction, and it charges your real credit card number one time.
Never Respond to Requests for Personal Information
There are numerous email scams requesting to verify your personal information. Typically, the email will be similar to a real bank or merchant, and may even take you to a fake website that looks like the real thing. This is called 'phishing' and should be reported to your internet service provider immediately. Never respond, but instead call the number on the back of your credit card or statement with any questions.
Create Complicated Passwords
Passwords are the gatekeepers of a great deal of information on the internet, and one of the most important of the seven ways to avoid online credit card fraud is to use complicated passwords that are not personally identifiable. A weak password for Susie Smith, born on June 19th would be: 'susies619'. Use acronyms or words that are meaningful only to you, then add numbers and alter the case throughout.
Safeguard Your Passwords and Change Them Often
Do not use the same password for everything and change passwords often. Thieves use robots or guesses based on information that they already have to break into email accounts. Then, thieves can access and change passwords on accounts associated with that email address. Criminals can also start using that password to guess on other sites associated with you.
Do Not Publish Personally Identifiable Information
Social media is a wonderful way to stay connected with family and friends, but it can make you an easy target for thieves. Use fake birth dates, seriously consider whether you wish to verify family relationships online, and your profile is safe from anyone you don’t know and trust. Periodically do a Google search on yourself to see if your phone number, address, and any other identifiable information is readily available online for thieves.
Credit card fraud is costly individually and to our economy. Armed and empowered with these seven ways to avoid online credit card fraud, consumers can enjoy greater peace of mind.
Protect Your Identity
While you can't completely protect yourself against fraud or identity theft, you can take steps to limit the damage should it occur. Many people are inclined to subscribe to credit monitoring protection services, when in fact, you can provide yourself with the first line of defense by simply being vigilant.
Also, conducting annual credit checkups to protect your identity and be very cautious of the information you share online. It may sound too simple, but vigilance really goes a long way towards protecting your identity online.