Credit card companies work hard every day to make sure that your private information is kept safe. However, this doesn’t stop criminals from thinking more outside the box to get their hands on your credit card details.
Check out all the ways that your credit card information can be stolen and how you can prevent it from happening to you.
Top 4 ways a thief can steal your credit card information
1. Phishing emails
This is perhaps the most popular way that scammers like to get information out of you. The emails can be carefully designed to look legitimate by claiming to be from an important institute like your bank or the government.
Urgent language will typically be used, saying that you must act quickly to make sure that you do not get in any kind of trouble. They will ensure you that by clicking a link or opening an attachment and giving away your personal information, like your credit card number, you will be safe from further consequences.
Woman unknowingly falling for a phishing email scam.
Before you know it, you’ve given a scammer exactly what they need to steal your information and use it for their benefit. Make sure you don’t fall for this kind of trick.
2. Public WiFi Networks
Although public WiFi networks are convenient, they also can pose a great danger to your privacy. Using a network available in a place like an airport or a coffee shop can put your information at risk to a scammer who was able to hack into the network and monitor it. Take caution before you decide to sign onto a WiFi Network that isn’t private.
3. Data breaches
This is an issue that we cannot control, however, it is still worth noting. Large institutions, especially ones like banks and credit card companies, are a constant target for criminals. The big masterminds will try to break through the security measures of these institutions so that they can steal information from hundreds or even thousands of people at once.
Security breaches occur even at some of the largest institutions. Your data is stolen by malicious hackers.
This is why these institutions have cybersecurity teams regularly monitoring and testing out their security features so that malicious hackers cannot get through.
4. ATM skimming and trash
This is a more old-fashioned approach; however, it can still work like a charm for a scammer. If you receive anything in the mail with your credit card number and throw it away without ripping it up or shredding it, a criminal can search through your trash and easily locate the information.
Criminals have also been known to bug ATMs with devices that gather your card information when you insert or swipe your card, which is why you should always be super cautious before using a public one that isn’t connected to your bank.
Scammers have been using devices to bug ATM’s and steal your card and account information.
How can I prevent my credit card information from being stolen?
There are numerous steps you can take to make sure that your credit card information is never stolen or compromised. Here are some tips to keep in mind for the future.
Never give your credit card information over the phone or via email
If you receive an email or phone call from someone you don’t know and they want your credit card information, do not give it to them. Also, remember that legit institutions like your bank or any government branch will never ask for this information over the phone or through email and will only send you letters in the mail.
Regularly check your statements
When you get your credit card statement, make sure you go through every transaction and verify that each one was performed by you.
Shred your mail
If you have trash mail that you’re throwing away that has important information on it, make sure you shred it or tear it up into small pieces before tossing it.
Only use secure websites
If you’re paying for something online, make sure that the website URL starts with “https.” This will verify that the website is legit.
Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network)
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) will protect your information when you’re using a public WiFi network. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a secure server, which can help prevent third-party websites, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), or hackers from intercepting your online data.
For best VPN software, see my expert review of the best VPNs for browsing the web privately on your Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices by visiting CyberGuy.com/VPN .
Looking for the best VPN? Head on over to cyberguy.com for more info.
Use an Identity theft protection service
Identity Theft companies can monitor personal information like your Social Security Number, phone number, and email address and alert you if it is being sold on the dark web or being used to open an account. They can also assist you in freezing your bank and credit card accounts to prevent further unauthorized use by criminals.
Some of the best parts of using an identity theft protection service like my #1 pick include identity theft insurance to cover losses and legal fees, and a white glove fraud resolution team where a US-based case manager helps you recover any losses. Learn more by heading to CyberGuy.com/IdentityTheft.
CyberGuy.com information on how to keep yourself safe from fraud and scammers.
Credit card companies are working diligently to protect your private information. Still, criminals continue to find creative ways to steal credit card details, such as phishing emails, public WiFi networks, data breaches, and ATM skimming/trash digging. It’s crucial that you take preventive measures like being cautious with sharing your information, regularly checking your credit card statements, shredding mail, and only using secure websites to safeguard your credit card information.
Have you dealt with credit card theft before? Let us know how you handled it by writing us at CyberGuy.com/Contact .
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