Credit cards are a convenient, safe and flexible method of payment accepted in more than 200 countries worldwide. However, credit card fraud can happen and you should know how to protect yourself.Your card could be lost or stolen and used to purchase goods and services. A criminal could obtain your card number and expiry date and use this information to buy merchandise by phone or over the Internet. Or criminals could tamper with payment terminals at retailers to obtain your card information and create a counterfeit credit card.
The past couple of years have been a rough ride for anyone who relies on a credit card to make purchases. Data breaches have plagued retail stores in the U.S. and Canada. Credit card providers are set to roll out new, more secure credit cards to consumers this year, catching up to Europe and much of Asia in terms of credit card security. The U.S., in particular, has lagged behind in credit card security due in part to the cost of upgrading both the cards themselves and the pay terminals.
If you are concerned about your credit card information falling into the wrong hands, there are several simple steps you can take to protect yourself:
Report a lost or stolen card as soon as you notice it is gone. Your card issuer will cancel your card and issue you a new one.
Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN): don’t share it with anyone or write it down, memorize it.
Only give your credit card information to secure and trusted web sites. Never enter any personal or financial information on a non-secure web page. If you don’t see “https” in the web address, move along. Monitor all activity. Regularly check your credit card and bank statements to monitor all your financial activity.
Many credit card providers have custom alerts you can set to notify you if certain purchases are made.
Never save credit card information. Many online retailers and shops now ask if you would like to save your credit card information for future use. While it may seem convenient, skip it.Make a list of all your cards and their numbers and keep this in a secure place. This key information is helpful when reporting lost or stolen cards.
An estimated 7.3 million Canadian were victims of cybercrime in 2013. Don’t be one. If you have charges on your credit card that you didn’t make or if you think that you may have revealed your credit card number when you shouldn’t have, contact your credit card issuer right away using the phone number on the back of your card. They will take steps to protect you from fraud.
Bob Milliken is the president of Cascadia Systems Group.
Connect with Bob at TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com, or give us a call – 604.270.1730.
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