First, the bad news: If you use a credit card, there’s no way to fully protect yourself from credit card fraud. Even worse, fraud has been increasing: You’re more likely to find fraudulent charges on your credit card statement today than you were just a few years ago.
The good news is, there are still steps you can take to significantly reduce your risk, and to protect yourself from damages if your credit card should be compromised. Here are a few best practices to keep your data and your money as safe as possible.
Stay on top of your credit accounts. It’s hard to notice fraudulent transactions when you aren’t looking at your transactions! It’s smart to review your purchases daily to make sure they match up with all your authorized card uses. If you do notice something fishy, call your credit card issuer right away.
Use credit, not debit. Since debit cards pull straight from your accounts, theft could drain an account enough to put you at risk of checks bouncing and automatic transfers failing. Plus, you have a much smaller window during which you can report fraud on a debit card and not be liable for some of the money.
Take advantage of your card issuer’s fraud alert system. Most card issuers and financial institutions have built-in fraud alerts that you can sign up for. This allows them to contact you when certain suspicious activity occurs on your account, allowing you to identify fraud quickly.
Make mobile payments more secure. When shopping online, it’s best to use payments methods that use biometric authorization (like a fingerprint or face ID) to add an extra level of security to your purchases.
If you use a credit card, you’ll probably have to deal with credit card fraud someday. But the more cautious you are, the less of a target you are. If you can implement these best practices, you’ll be a lot less likely to wake up to someone using your credit card to order something on Amazon!
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