How to protect your credit

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Credit card fraud is when someone steals your credit information and uses it to make purchases or borrow money. Although victims of fraud usually don’t have to pay anything, the situation can take time and effort to resolve.

Reporting stolen cards and waiting for your new card to be delivered in the mail can seem cumbersome. However, there are steps you can take to protect your card against everyday threats. Keep reading to learn six ways to protect your credit card.

1. Use two-factor authentication

Whether you’re using a credit card manufacturer or a traditional credit card, your card’s mobile app likely has two-factor authentication. This second layer of security provides additional protection. Typical passwords can be easy to guess and shouldn’t be your only form of security. Enabling two-factor authentication makes it harder for malicious people to access your information.

Once you have enabled two-factor authentication, the mobile app will require two types of information to access your account. One of them will be your password. The other will be a code sent to your phone or biometric data like facial recognition or a fingerprint. So even if your password is leaked, no one can access your information without a second form of verification.

2. Shop on your device with a private network

The library is not the best place to shop online. Public devices, like computers in the library or tablets in the hotel lobby, save your login information, making it available for the next user. Logging out of your accounts won’t protect you either. If hackers have installed spyware on the device, they can access your credit card numbers, usernames, and passwords.

Although using a personal device offers some protection, cybercriminals can still access your information if you use public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi networks can be handy, but they aren’t secure, so it’s best to treat them with caution. If you can, use your personal hotspot instead.

3. Use unique passwords

If you’re like most people, you use the same password on multiple accounts. With so many digital accounts to manage, using the same password can help you remember your login details.

However, it also makes it easier for your credit card account to be hacked. When you use the same password all the time, you increase the risk of credential stuffing. This happens when criminals use stolen account information to try to access the rest of your accounts.

To protect your credit card information from credential stuffing, your online banking passwords must be unique. A good rule of thumb when creating passwords is to combine upper and lower case letters with numbers and symbols.

Also, start using a password manager to help you manage different complex passwords across multiple accounts. Password managers securely store all of your passwords online, so you don’t have to remember them.

4. Beware of phishing

If you get a call or receive an email asking for your credit card information, don’t answer. It’s probably a scammer trying to trick you with a phishing scheme. Phishing is when someone calls or emails you asking for your personal information. These scammers can be tricky and use familiar company names to give the impression that they are someone they are not.

To protect yourself against phishing, maintain a healthy level of suspicion when receiving requests for personal information. Your bank will never call you to verify account information, so don’t provide credit card information on a call you didn’t initiate. If you receive an email from an address you don’t recognize, don’t click on any links and report it immediately.

5. Look for Card Skimming

Skimming is a theft method that criminals use to steal your credit card information at the time of use. This is usually done through a device attached to a POS machine like an ATM or a gas pump. These small devices are usually placed on the card reader and are difficult to spot.

Although it can be difficult to see a skimming device, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. First, examine any card reading machine before using it. If the graphics appear misaligned on the reader or appear loose or crooked, they may have been altered. Another way to avoid skimming is to simply pay inside when purchasing gas. This completely eliminates the chances of being skimmed.

6. Act quickly

If your wallet is stolen or your credit card is lost, acting quickly can help minimize the damage. First, you must report the theft to your card issuer. Then they will cancel your old card and mail you a replacement card.

If fraudulent charges have been made to your account, you should receive a refund. The Fair Credit Billing Act protects people against credit card fraud, setting your maximum liability at $50. After receiving your credit card statement, confirm that the information is correct.

Credit card fraud is frustrating to deal with, but it doesn’t have to happen. By taking the proper steps to protect yourself, you can significantly reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

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