Credit Card Fraud: How to Stay Safe
In more ways than one, our lives have changed from this year’s events. We may find ourselves working from home more, keeping a steady supply of face masks handy, and relying solely on cashless spending. Unfortunately, credit card fraud and identity theft is exploding as criminals prey on consumers’ pandemic spending habits and desire for contactless shopping. That’s right, even during a global pandemic where many are struggling mentally, physically, and financially, scammers are looking at the situation as a great way to make some extra cash. To help, we’ve rounded up some must-know tips on how to stay safe and prevent credit card fraud amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Prevent Credit Card Fraud Through COVID-19
- Check your savings, checking, credit card, and other financial accounts regularly
One of the best ways to protect your finances and identity is to frequently check your financial accounts and scam through recent charges to in case there is something you don’t recognize. Even setting aside five minutes a week to review every charge and withdrawal can make a significant difference in swiftly recognizing a threat to your identity. Ideally, sign up for your bank’s email or text notifications that alert you when a charge is made.
- Contact your bank as soon as you notice any suspicious activity on your account
The best time to act on an unauthorized charge or withdrawal is as soon as possible. If you do not recognize a charge or have concerns about a transaction, contact your bank immediately. Explain your situation and ask about your options. This may include canceling your active credit or debit card and being reissued new ones. Your bank or credit card lender will be able to advise the best next steps and the specific solutions available to you.
- Use your credit card rather than your debit card
When shopping online, paying with a credit card tends to be better than a debit card for a variety of reasons. The top one being that there are more purchase protections offered by the majority of credit card lenders. If you use a debit card online and your card number gets stolen, the money can be taken directly from your account. With credit cards, the criminals don’t have direct access to your cash. Instead, their fraudulent purchases are simply charged to your account and require payment at the end of your billing cycle, which you can refute.
- Consider a credit freeze
If you’d like to keep your credit accounts extra secure, consider a credit freeze. Freezing your credit prevents third parties from accessing your sensitive credit reports, helping to protect you from identity theft. Many identity thieves attempt to take out new lines of credit under your name. But, if your credit is frozen, a lender won’t be able to complete the credit inquiry required to secure a new credit card or loan.
These tips can help protect you against credit card fraud. Another great way to protect your finances is to secure the necessary insurance policies. If you have questions regarding auto insurance coverage or would like to speak with a Massachusetts insurance expert from CAV Insurance Agency, call us on 781-237-4107. Remember that it only takes a few minutes to get an personal insurance quote from your local insurance agency.