5 Credit Card Security Measures You Should Take
Credit card security is one of the top topics across several personal finance platforms today. Decades ago, people used to worry about being mugged and their cash was stolen. This problem was solved significantly with the introduction of debit/credit cards.
However, in providing that solution, another problem came along as fraudsters and skimmers became smarter. Apparently, losing your credit card information could lead to you losing a lot more money as compared to when cash is preferred as the primary mode of payment.
If you are mugged, you lose the cash in your wallet, but if your credit card/debit card information is stolen, you could lose the entire bank balance to the fraudsters. Therefore, in order to ensure that your credit card does not lead to huge financial losses, here are five surefire measures you should take.
Never give your details via email or phone and never give full details for verification purposes
If you are opening an online payment account that requires you to link your credit/debit card, it is important that you never send the required details via email or through a telephone conversation. Sending information via email exposes your credit card to the real threats posed by hackers, but even more importantly, you can never rely on the recipient to keep your information confidential let alone fail to use it to steal from you.
In addition, most platforms will ask you to provide certain details of your credit/debit card in order to verify the information provided. Realistic vendors will only ask for partial details of the card number in which case you cover some of the digits before uploading the copies to the platform. If you come across vendors who specifically ask for the complete details, then chances are that they cannot be trusted.
Watch out for credit card slot skimmers set to steal credit card details
ATMs and other pay-point credit/debit card slots have been exposed in recent times by skimmers who install malicious gadgets on the machine slot to steal customer details. Once you insert your card in a vandalized machine, all the details are saved automatically and send to the skimmer. After this, the skimmer can easily use the information to steal from you.
One of the best ways to identify vandalized machines is to compare the slot sections for all the available machines to see if there is one that’s different in an unusual way. Another way is to check whether or not the pinhole camera is blocked. If it’s blocked then chances are the machine you are about to use could have been vandalized by a skimmer.
In addition, you can always check out for tamper stickers mounted on the machine before using it. These stickers tell whether the machine has been tampered with and whether or not the installed device has been removed.
Use secure third-party payment services
Online payment service platforms like PayPal, Skrill or Payoneer can act as a bridge between your credit card and the vendor from whom you intend to make a purchase. This means that all the banking details are well protected.
All that is required for you is to sign up with one of these platforms. PayPal is by far the largest player in the market, which means that most vendors will have it as a payment option.
Keep off platforms that have no https in the URL and avoid public WiFi networks
When shopping online and you come across a platform whose URL does not begin with https and a padlock next to it, you should be cautious before using your credit card information to make a purchase on the platform.
In an https URL, the ‘S’ stands for ‘Secure’, which means that the platform access is secured with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). The work of an SSL security is to encrypt the information submitted via a platform that is secured with its algorithms. This means that once you enter your credit card details on such a platform, the information is encrypted with SSL to prevent hackers from easily accessing it.
Choose trusted platforms and avoid promotional scams
Another sure way of avoiding unnecessary credit card information theft is by making sure that the platforms you use to transact business are reputable and trusted. Many buyers risk their credit card information getting out for the sake of saving 3%-5% on the purchase price of a particular item. In many cases, it is not worth it to take that kind of risk.
In addition, it is also good to keep away from questionable promotional offers. Most of these promise massive discounts, but then may require you to use a particular channel to make the purchase. If a particular promotion is not from a trusted source, it is better to let it pass and wait for the next one.
Credit card security is a very important subject when it comes online shopping. Apart from risking your finances, your information can also be used to make fraudulent transactions which could attract criminal charges.
As such, it is crucial to ensure that you take every step necessary to keep your credit card secure at all times.