Credit card fraud can take many forms. For example, a fraudster can steal or find a lost card and then use it to make purchases. They can also card details online by accessing databases or tricking the card owner into clicking on a scam email link. This is known as ‘phishing’.
Another common type of credit card fraud involves a fraudster applying for a credit card in someone else’s name and making lots of purchases before that person discovers the scam.
We’ve put together eight tips to help you keep your finances safe.
1. Keep your card info private
Don’t share your PIN, login password or personal information with anybody you don’t know. It’s wise to be especially suspicious of emails and phone calls from people who claim they need these details.
If they say they are calling from your bank or credit card company, hang up and contact your financial institution directly to confirm.
2. Make sure your passwords are secure
Always use a combination of letters and numbers and change passwords regularly. Make sure your financial passwords are unique too. Avoid using the same passwords for a number of different accounts. This will reduce the chances of all accounts being compromised.
And if you access your card or banking through an app, then don’t forget to keep your mobile software up to date for added safety.
3. Bank from home only
If you need to check your credit card transactions or limits, then wait until you get home and use your home internet connection. Free Wi-Fi in public places is less secure and can be compromised, putting you at risk of credit card fraud.
4. Be careful with your mail
To protect your identity, never throw bank or credit card statements away with the rest of your rubbish. Statements make it easier for fraudsters to access your personal information and potentially steal your identity.
Instead, shred your statements or at least cut off the section including your name and address before disposing of them. If you move house, make sure you redirect the post to your new address.
5. Don’t overshare on social media
The more personal information you share on social media, the easier it is for fraudsters to impersonate you, especially if your profile is open to everybody. For example, information like your address, your birthday and even your middle name can be used for credit card fraud.
6. Keep your eyes open
The best way to detect credit card debt is to check your credit report regularly through Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. If you notice irregularities, like strange late charges or new applications for loans or cards, then report them right away to your bank and to Action Fraud.
7. Check your statements
Always check your credit card statement at the end of the month to make sure no strange transactions are listed. If you notice purchases you don’t remember making or unfamiliar charges, then call your credit card company immediately to dispute them.
8. Use your card carefully online
To prevent credit card fraud, never shop on insecure sites (sites without a ‘lock’ icon in front of the URL). And make sure your browser, antivirus and spyware protection are always up to date to protect you from dangerous activity.
Some offers on The Motley Fool UK site are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.