Credit cards offer so much convenience. Unlike a debit card, you don’t need money in your account to use it. The issuers provide lines of credit with a limit to cardholders. That avails cash anytime you need it. The only drawback is what you have is a debt, which you must repay.
Now, have you ever thought about what happens every time you swipe that card? Most likely not. It is because backend functions should not be your concern at all. As long as the transaction goes through, you are good to go.
But, there is one thing you must educate yourself on. That is the issue of cyber security and credit card safety. You could be a victim of counterfeiting, identity theft, stolen cards, and fraud.
In fact, in 2020, there were 459,297 reports of fraud and identity theft. Identity theft took the lion’s share at 393,207 cases. The same year saw an alarming 48% increase in identity theft on new card accounts.
As a credit cardholder, such statistics should be of significant concern. You would not want to contribute to the statistics going forward, right?
Impact of Cybersecurity Threats on Cardholders
When a cybercriminal accesses your credit card information, a lot can happen. The thieves may make purchases and put them on your account. Some criminals will also sell card numbers and accompanying personal information to third parties.
Do note; credit card fraud can impact your credit score. Hence, you must report any fraudulent activities immediately. The reference bureaus will remove the accounts so that it does not affect your credit.
It may sound pretty straightforward but the process can take time. There is a lot of back and forth to verify the information and prove the fraud. It can be very frustrating if you don’t know how to go about it.
We would recommend letting the experts handle the job. There are affordable credit repair companies that specialize in such work. The credit repair professionals track the credit reports. They will spot inaccuracies or errors and fix them.
In cases of disputes, the repair professionals will handle all the work for you. You can rest easy knowing that you can get back your excellent credit score, even after credit card fraud.
Ways to Ensure Credit Card Safety
You should always have in mind that the online space is never safe. Cybercriminals are an ever-present danger. They are also so sophisticated in their tactics. So, security experts are always playing a game of catchup.
Let’s look at some steps you can take to make the cybercriminals work a little bit harder.
- Strong Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication
Avoid using common passwords that hackers can breach without too much effort. Go for a combination of numbers, letters, and characters. Multi-factor login also provides that extra layer of security.
Even if the hackers breach the password, they must still breach the second line of defense. At this point, the issuer’s security systems should have picked up on the activities. You should ask the card issuers for a separate password to allow any online payments.
- Ensure the Use of Suitable Security Measures
Don’t ignore the importance of basic security measures. Have you, for instance, enabled your firewalls? When was the last time you ran your device updates? It may feel like a bother but think about it this way.
Why would developers spend time improving their software if there was no need? Updates give you access to the latest security features, so, please run them.
Finally, spend some money on anti-virus, anti-malware, or anti-ransomware. Such are excellent for thwarting hacking attempts.
- Be Watchful About What You Do Online
Take the time to educate yourself on online safety. There are some methods cybercriminals use to gain access. Never share sensitive or personal information over the phone. Fraudsters can make calls impersonating bank or card issuer officials.
Be careful about email communication. Avoid those that seem to ask for personal information. Under no circumstance should you not click on any links without confirming the source. That is a common phishing tactic.
It also helps to be mindful about the internet connections you use. Free wifi may seem like a pretty attractive deal in public spaces. Yet, such lines are not secure.
Even if you must use the free wifi, avoid doing so on sites that collect your personal information. That includes banks or eCommerce platforms where you could use your credit card.
The ability to save card details and passwords online is great. It saves you the trouble of lengthy logins every time. But, you could pay a heavy price for this little convenience.
What it does is give hackers easy access to your information. Think about the few minutes you spend logging in as a step to ensuring online security.
Finally, check the security of whatever sites you visit. The URL should have HTTPS, not HTTP. Also, look for the lock symbol as an indicator of a safe site.
- Keep Up With Credit Card Statements
You may not realize someone has been using your credit card for some time. Unless you have a credit repair company on retainer, it is up to you to check the statements. Go through each with a fine-tooth comb every time you receive them.
If you notice any anomalies, report them immediately. You have 60 days from the time you receive a credit card bill to dispute any charges. Such could be due to unauthorized purchases, calculator errors, or inaccurate dates. And, the amount must be over $50.
Be careful about how you dispose of such statements. If you dump them in the trash can, shred them first. Do the same for any expired credit card. Such documentation contains a lot of information fraudsters can use.
Setting up notifications or any credit card transactions is also an excellent idea. It can provide a timely alert if someone uses the card without your knowledge.
Cybersecurity is an ongoing concern for anyone in the online space. Credit card users must do all they can to stay safe. Start by educating yourself on cybersecurity and online safety. Articles such as this are a fantastic starting point. Please take note of the simple, workable steps you can take to stay safe.
And, keep an eye on your statements and credit reports. Top-rated credit repair companies can monitor the accounts and fix any errors. That way, you get to maintain an excellent credit score.