Credit cards make life so much easier particularly when you need to buy big ticket items but want to avoid carrying around a lot of cash on your person. However, unless you are careful, you could end up losing much more if unscrupulous people get possession of your card.
With the advent of technology, credit card theft and card fraud has taken on several new forms and all of them can have equally devastating effects on your finances. Learn how you can safeguard yourself against the loss and ward off the risk of identity theft when you lose your credit card.
When your card gets stolen
When you have your purse snatched or your pocket picked, you could lose your credit card along with cash and other important stuff. It is a simple matter for the thief to swipe your card at outlets to do some shopping or use it online to make purchases. Although not very common at present, the technique of getting card imprints from carbon copies found in the trash also lead to incidences of credit card theft.
Being extra careful when you are in crowded places like malls and taking immediate action to report the theft and block the card once you discover the loss are the most effective ways to limit the damage you face in these situations.
When your card information is stolen
Are you in the habit of paying by card when you eat out and do you tend to hand it over to your waiter or waitress when its bill paying time? You could be making a big mistake here.
There are innumerable incidents happening everyday where the waiter/ waitress takes the credit card, swipes it through the register as they should and then also makes use of the opportunity to swipe the card through a compact skimming device. This device stores the credit card information which is later used to fund the thief’s purchases right until you figure out something is wrong.
Since it is impossible for you to tell whether or not a waiter or store clerk is honest, the best alternative is for you to ‘not trust strangers’ especially with your credit card. Why not simply go along with them, swipe your card through the register yourself or keep a watchful eye while they are doing it?
When the card reader is faked at your favorite store
This one requires some acting skills, a lot of creativity and guts on part of the thieves and it has a huge impact on every single credit card using customer of the store where the card reader is replaced with a fake one. These types of identity theft involve more than one thief typically, since the card reader at the counter is replaced with a different one while the other thief distracts the sales clerk.
A while later, a similar distraction is staged so that the card reader can be retrieved and the original one put back in place. The store may not even get a fraud alert until complaints from patrons start coming in.
When your credit card data falls victim to malware
Using your credit card at home is not always as safe as you think either especially if you tend to visit sites that are not serious about security features. Such sites could contain malware that is downloaded onto your computer, making all of your data accessible to unauthorized people.
Malware may also be planted onto public computers and when you share information with these machines, you are exposed to risk. One of the most useful pieces of data that can be stolen from your computer is your credit card information, which is then used by the thief to commit fraud.
Keeping your computer updated with powerful anti- virus software and verifying that the sites you visit are secure ones is a good way to curb your risk of identity theft.
There are many types of different credit card fraud to look out for. Have you been a victim of identity theft and credit card fraud?
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