Do you know that you are a target of credit card fraud? In 2020, the industry reported almost 67,000 cases. Identity theft was at a staggering 393,207, signifying a 44.6% increase from the previous year.
Fraud is a major concern for credit card companies. And, as a user, it should also warrant significant attention on your part. That is why it is important to learn how to avoid credit card fraud with cybersecurity. We will show you how below.
Understanding Credit Card Fraud
Let’s start the conversation with an understanding of credit card fraud. Say, you notice a transaction in your account that you did not make. It is a clear sign that you are a victim of identity theft.
Someone has stolen your card and is running up charges on it. They could have accessed your information in various ways. You may have lost the card due to theft or misplacement.
There could have been a data breach that exposed your information to cybercriminals. Ecommerce transactions can also be areas of vulnerability.
So what do you do if you notice such transactions? The first step is to report it to the issuing company. You are liable for the charges as long as they do not know what is happening. This is not to say they don’t have systems that flag such anomalies.
The issuing companies have credit card fraud detection systems in place to flag suspicious transactions. They keep a close watch on your purchasing behavior.
Anything that falls out of the pattern raises flags that result in investigations. But, it does not free you from needing to make reports if you notice anything strange.
As we said, you are liable for any unreported suspicious charges. If you do not make payments, it will impact your credit score. If this has happened to you, please talk to credit repair professionals. They can help restore your credit score and keep up with monitoring your reports.
The company will alert you of any unusual activities like credit inquiries or searches you know nothing about. Some identity thieves will also try to register new addresses or open new accounts.
You must also do your part in monitoring account activities. The issuing company provides statements every month or when you ask for them. Have a list of all your online credit card transactions, and use that as a checklist.
Role of Cybersecurity in Preventing Credit Card Fraud
Take a minute to think about a typical burglar. If you leave your windows or door open, it makes it easy for them to come in. What you have done is to give them a loophole they can explore.
The same applies to the online space. Cybercriminals will explore areas of vulnerability to get access. Once they are in, they will steal from you.
In this case, they will use your credit to shop. That is why you will notice transactions around purchases you did not make.
Taking the necessary cybersecurity steps is, therefore, critical. Let’s look at some things you can do to stay safe while online.
- Avoid the Use of Public Wifi
Public wifi is free and it can be tempting to log onto the internet wherever you get any. But you are not the only one using the free resources.
Cybercriminals troll such, looking for victims. If you must use the wifi, do not share any confidential information.
Also, install a VPN or proxy server for additional security. You get privacy or anonymity, which ensures no one can monitor your online activities.
- Beef Up Your Online Security
It is critical that you beef up your security while online. Enable firewalls and install antivirus, anti-malware, or anti-ransomware. These should apply to any device that connects to the internet.
Do not click on links in emails whose origin you do not know. And, avoid sharing personal information over the phone or online.
There are tons of options available. Do take time to find the best by looking at the features. Pay attention to customer reviews for extra information.
Do not get lazy about updating the systems and software. If the developers roll them out, it means they know why. The updates take care of security loopholes that hackers can exploit.
- Strong Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication
Are you one of those people who use birthdays and anniversaries as passwords? Maybe you find it easier to go with the QWERTY or 1234 combinations. After all, why trouble yourself with a password you are likely to forget.
Well, you are making a big mistake. Hackers who have access to your data will use such combinations as a first resort when trying to crack your security.
Please take note of the following:
- Use a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols for passwords.
- Avoid short passwords. The longer the better.
- Include multi-factor authentication for that extra layer of security.
- Keep updating your passwords regularly. Having one password for too long can expose you.
- Do not store your passwords online or in a notebook. Anyone can access the information and use it to their advantage.
- Check the Websites You Shop On
Do you ever check whether the website you are shopping on is safe? Here are some security indicators to look out for:
- The URL should start with HTTPS. That ‘S’ shows it is a secure site. HTTP connections are unsafe and could expose you to cybercriminals
- Look for the lock symbol in the top left corner of the URL box. Like HTTPS, it is a sign of security.
- Look out for trust badges on the site. It shows the eCommerce platform is taking extra steps to make the site safe.
Stick to buying goods from reputable sites. Platforms like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and Alibaba would not stake their reputation by bypassing proper security.
Credit card fraud is something that you must watch out for. It can be devastating to fall prey to cybercriminals. Take time to ensure you are safe while online. We have shared some things you can do above.
It is true that cybercriminals are constantly evolving. Hackers work hard to perfect their craft every single day. They have technologies that make them more effective at what they do. But, it does not mean that you should give them an easy time.