Once they get in, they can shop to their heart's content, at your expense. As such, you must take the necessary steps to protect your credit card from online hackers. Read on to find out how.
Understand the Threats
The first step in protecting yourself is understanding how cybercriminals can access your credit card information. The bad news is online hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated. They use various methods, including phishing, spyware, and data breaches.
Do not use public wifi because it is a favorite hunting ground for hackers. Some cybercriminals will call and pretend to be from credit institutions. They will ask questions that result in you releasing your credit card information. Avoid sharing anything without verifying who you are talking to.
Educate Yourself on the Impact of Credit Card Theft
What should you do if you fall prey to cybercriminals? The most critical step is to make a report to the issuer immediately.
Most credit card companies have fraud liability protection. It means you are not liable for the spending that the criminals will do. But, if you do not report the crime, you will pay the charges.
Now, you may feel that it is not your fault, so why should you pay? Here is what will happen. The credit card company will take it as nonpayment of the credit card charges. They will relay the same information to the credit reference bureaus.
It goes into your credit report as delinquency in debt repayment. In the end, your credit score will suffer. Yet, it could take a long time for you to discover if you do not check your credit report.
Do engage the services of credit management service providers. They will monitor the reports and give you timely alerts. Credit repair companies can help correct any mistakes so that you maintain a perfect credit score.
Operate From One Account and Monitor All Activities
Limit the number of credit cards you use for online purchases to just one. Don’t give cybercriminals access to multiple accounts. It also makes it easier to monitor any fraudulent activities.
Talk to your issuer to see whether they have a specific card for online purchases. Sign up to receive alerts every time there is a charge on the card. Notifications can be in the form of SMS or email alerts.
It is also a good idea to avoid opening accounts for every purchase you make. Consider shopping as a guest. That way, the eCommerce store does not store your information.
Some issuers can give virtual one-time numbers for every transaction. In this way you keep your real credit card number safe.
Do you ever take the time to check your credit card statements? If not, start doing it today. Someone could be running you into debt without your knowledge.
Request for a report every month, and go through it with a fine toothcomb. If you note any spending that you cannot account for, alert the issuer.
Strong Passwords Are Non Negotiable
Strong passwords are a simple yet effective way to protect yourself from cybercriminals. Do not make it easy for them with the common password mistakes. You know what they are, right? Birthdays, anniversaries, QWERTY, and 12345 sequences are some of them.
Here is how cybercriminals will hack weak passwords.
- Brute force attack where they try every possible combination until they get it right. The hackers have pretty sophisticated software that makes their work so much easier.
- Dictionary attacks use prearranged words, much like you would find in a dictionary
- Phishing that tricks you into revealing information, usually through emails or phone calls.
Long passwords are a safer option. A combination of numbers, letters, and symbols are also worth considering.
Multi-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security. Even if the hackers breach the password, they will still have to deal with the extra authentication.
And please, do not save passwords online, or in a notebook that you carry around. You need to do your part in making life hard for the hackers.
Only Shop On Safe Websites and Secure Your Site
Do you ever check the safety of the website you are on? Let’s go back to the phishing method of attack. You click on a link, and it redirects you to an unsafe site. How would you know this?
Well, for one, it has an HTTP and not HTTPS URL. That S is a sign that the site is secure. An extra badge of security is the lock icon. Yes, that lock on the URL window, like the one on this site.
Reputable e-commerce platforms also showcase trust badges on their sites.
Be extra picky about the sites you shop on. Stick to retailers you know or those with strong market reputations. Do take the time to read customer reviews on their experience shopping on the site. You could save yourself a lot of headaches and expenses.
Staying safe online also depends on you. Install the necessary security measures on your internet-connected devices. Such include antimalware and antivirus. A VPN or Proxy keeps you anonymous while online. Third parties cannot see your online activities, thus additional security.
Update your software and operating systems every time developers roll them out. They include the latest security measures, and patch any areas of vulnerabilities.
Credit cards are a popular target for cybercriminals. Users share a lot of personal information, which in the wrong hands can cause major problems. It is critical to take steps to protect yourself at all times.
The first step is to understand the dangers and how they will impact you as a credit card user. Limit your exposure by using one account for online purchases. Take the time to come up with strong passwords.
Avoid the use of public wifi and check that the website is safe. Finally, do install the necessary security for any device you use to connect to the internet. Do not make it easy for hackers to access your credit card information.