Money Safety Tips: How To Protect Yourself From Credit Card Frauds
A credit card is an excellent spending tool that also provides a short and medium-term credit option. Like any other financial instrument, it becomes the target of fraudsters who prey on vulnerabilities in your personal information security. Fraudsters may try to steal your card, password, CVV, OTP or the credit card number itself in order to make unauthorised transactions.
Credit card fraud is a serious issue as you could not only lose your money but also your peace of mind. It can be cumbersome to spot and prove unauthorized transactions. But there are several checks and balances you can apply to your credit card use to reduce chances of fraudulent transactions.
Ensuring Physical Safety Of Card
First, and foremost, when you receive your credit card, ensure the envelope is not tampered with. You must immediately sign at the back of the credit card before using it for point of sale (PoS) transactions to establish your ownership. While physically carrying the card, ensure your wallet or purse are secured. While handing over your card, ensure the transactions happen in front of you. Be aware of shoulder surfers – people who look over your shoulder as you type your PIN or password.
Use Chipped Cards
Older credit cards with magnetic strips are easier to close and misuse. The RBI has mandated card issuers to replace these cards with EMV cards – basically cards with smart chips which are harder to hack. Ensure you’ve upgraded to these EMV cards. If not, get in touch with your card issuer immediately. An EMV card will also need you to set a PIN without which transactions will not go through. Ensure you set this PIN straightaway when you get this card.
Enabling Transactions & Capping Spends
The RBI has mandated banks to provide app and web-based control panels with which you can turn on or off domestic, online, international, contactless, and ATM transactions as well as set caps your transactions. It would be wise to access this control panel on your credit card’s phone app or website and turn off transactions you’re not using. For example, it’s a good idea to disable international transactions if you’re not travelling abroad since this would prevent misuse by foreign-based fraudsters.
Set Strong Security Codes, Update Them Frequently
Your credit card transactions online are password-protected. You must set a strong password for your credit card website. Avoid easy options like your name, date of birth, or any other details which are easily accessible to others as passwords. A strong password has a mix of both upper- and lower-case characters and numbers. It is also advisable to change your passwords regularly. Do memorise your password and avoid writing it somewhere on a piece of paper. You must also change your credit card pin regularly and ensure you punch the PIN in private whenever making PoS transactions. Needless to say, do not share your CVV, PIN, OTP or password with anyone.
Browse Safely, Do Not Click On Suspicious Links
You need to be cautious while using your credit card online. Ensure you use secured and well-known payment gateways only for online payments. Always check if a payment link is secure or not – this normally reflects in the green padlock icon in the browser address bar. Do not click on links that may seem suspicious, especially those links in suspicious emails asking you to take urgent action on your account. Check the validity of the addresses from where such mails come. Lastly, while large e-commerce platforms are extremely safe, avoid saving your credit card details on lesser-known platforms whose information security credentials aren’t established. If such websites are hacked, your credit card information may get compromised.
Beware Of Skimmers
Whenever you are making any PoS or ATM transactions, check that the card reader hasn’t got any funny-looking attachments. These attachments could be skimming devices – basically tools to steal your card information as soon as you swipe your card. The stolen information can be used to create clones of your card to make unauthorised transactions. If you find any card reader with such attachments fitted loosely over the machine, where the card reader sticks out past the panel, or has a security pin overlay, do not conduct the transaction.
Check Your Billing Statement Regularly
Enable email and SMS alerts as well as email statements so that you’re alerted to your transactions. You must review your card statements regularly to keep a tab on transactions. If you’re alerted to transactions you don’t recognise, you must report them to your card provider immediately. This will improve your chances of blocking fraudulent transactions and keeping your money safe. Also, ensure you destroy hard copies of your statements after a period to prevent misuse.
Get Your Card Blocked In Case You Misplace It
In case your credit card gets misplaced or stolen, immediately inform the bank about it and get your card blocked to prevent any fraud or misuse. If you find your lost card after having it blocked, do not use it. Cut it and dispose it safely.
Credit card frauds can happen where security measures are lapse. If you keep your card safe and protect personal information, you will keep your money safe.