For many of us, credit cards are an easy and convenient way to make purchases, doing away with the need for carrying cash or checks. But taking precautions when using them can help guard against credit card fraud.
Here are six tips to protect your cards from fraudsters.
- Keep a Physical Document of Your Cards
If you carry multiple cards in your wallet, it's a good idea to make an image of the front and back of each of them, and create one document with this information to store in a secure place. Then if your wallet is lost or stolen, you can report the theft immediately to your credit card issuers.
- Consider Using a Mobile Wallet
A mobile wallet is simply a virtual copy of your physical wallet, allowing you to store your cards on your mobile device. Then when you want to pay for something, you use a PIN, face recognition or a fingerprint to access your card information. You can pay for things without having to use a physical card and can transfer money with a mobile app. Unlike swiping a card at the register, your information is secure, because the transactions don't transmit your actual account or card numbers. Instead, each transaction generates random numbers, keeping fraudsters at bay.
- Go Paperless
When it comes to fraud, snail mail is still one of the most tried-and-true methods fraudsters use to access your personal information. If you want to protect your mail, go paperless, or consider getting a P.O. box. Dumpster divers also use credit card statements and convenience checks to commit fraud, so make sure you shred all your financial documents.
- Blank out Security Code, Don't Sign Card
While you'll need your CVV on the back of your card when shopping online, you don't need it for in-store purchases. By scratching out the card with a permanent marker, you'll reduce the chance of a fraudster stealing this information and using it for online purchases. The same principle applies to your signature. Instead of signing it, simply write See ID in the signature box. That way, if your card is stolen, a thief isn't able to forge your signature.
- Use Your Card's Extra Layer of Security
When you're shopping online, make sure you take advantage of your credit card's security features. For instance, Mastercard's® SecureCode generates a one-time code when you make a purchase on a supported site. Other cards offer similar security options such as Visa Secure and AmexSafeKey.
- Keep Your Devices and Networks Secure
While it may be convenient to do so, never allow your browser to store your credit card numbers to guard against hackers. Just turn off the Autofill function in your website browsers. And if you use a mobile wallet, use a passcode or fingerprint to protect your smartphone from scammers.