Credit Cards Theft identity theft is often in the news, but there are a lot of misconceptions about how best to protect yourself.
While some identity thieves focus on taking and maximising your credit cards before they realise your cards are missing, a growing number are using other information about you, such as an online shopping account or email login information. the whole identity.
A 2017 study by Javelin Strategy & Research reported a record 15.4 million identity theft victims in 2016 , a 16% increase on 2016. Losses from fraud increased by a relatively modest $ 700 million, while non-card fraud increased by 40 percent and account takeover fraud increased by 60 percent.
No one is immune to identity theft, but they are armed with a bit of knowledge and a bit of common sense about how identity thieves work; you can stay one step ahead of them.
1st. Thieves don’t need your credit card number to steal.
Conversely, thieves don’t need your credit card to steal your identity . Identity thieves are cunning; sometimes all they need is a piece of information about you, and they can easily access others.
As a result, Heather Wells, former recovery manager at ID Experts, an identity protection company, said it is crucial to lock important documents at home.
” Secure birth certificates, Social Security cards, passports, in the safety deposit box or in the safe stored at home, ” he says. “This includes credit cards when not in use.”
2nd ed. The non-financial personal information you reveal on the internet is enough for a thief.
Beware of innocent personal facts that a thief can use to steal your identity.
For example, Never List your full date of birth on Facebook or other social networking websites. Also, do not list your home address or phone number on any websites you use for personal or business reasons, including job search sites.
- Watch your snail mail.
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TrueCredit.com “keep a close eye on your billing cycles,” says Lucy Duni, vice president of consumer education. “If a credit card or other bill did not arrive, it could mean that an identity thief took over your account and changed your billing address.”
Al Marcella, a professor and identity theft expert at Webster University’s School of business and Technology in St Louis, suggests that when you order new checks, you take them from the bank rather than send them home.
” Stolen checks can be exchanged and cashed by fraudsters, ” says Duni.
Also, never place outgoing mail in the post office or door slot for the operator to receive a mail. Anyone can take it and take your credit card numbers and other financial information. Bring it to the post office yourself.
- Review all debit and credit card statements every month, preferably once a week.
Watch companies or individuals you don’t know get charged less than one or two dollars. Thieves who plan to buy a stolen credit card number block often first check that accounts are not cancelled by Aware customers, sometimes posting a small fee for just a few cents.
If the initial charge is successful, they buy the stolen data and make a much larger charge or purchase. They estimate that most cardholders won’t notice such a small fee.
Also, most of the fraud alerts you can set in your accounts are not triggered by small dollar amounts.
It’s also a good idea to review your credit report regularly, but it’s often too late when a fraudulent transaction reaches your credit report.
- If an ATM or store terminal looks funny, don’t use it.
“Make sure there’s no device plugged into the ATM card slot you’re using,” says Wells. “As a general rule, the mouth of the card slot in an ATM machine must be flush with the machine or have a very light lip.”
If it looks or feels different when you swipe your card, or if there’s an extra piece of plastic sticking out of the card slot, a slider could be an electronic device placed by thieves who catch you when you swipe your credit card information.
Check your accounts regularly for suspicious or fraudulent fees.
- Identity thieves love travelers and tourists.
Scott Stevenson, founder and CEO of eliminate ID theft protection company identity theft, ATMs, on the phone or when you use a credit card to be alert to strangers wandering around, and the avoidance of public wireless internet connections unless your laptop or you have a smart phone warns travelers about the enhanced security protection. *
7. Identity thieves are sneaky; you have to be sneaky.
There are a few simple things you can do to protect your credit card in case it falls into the wrong hands.
“Sign your credit card with a Sharpie so your signature can’t be erased and overwritten,” says Echo Montgomery Garrett, a writer in Marietta, Georgia.
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Consultant Sarah Browne, of Carmel, California, had all but one credit card stolen from a hotel room. The reserved card still has a” please activate ” sticker on it. Although Browne activated the card, he forgot to remove the sticker.
” The thieves must have known you had to activate a new card from the phone number listed with the credit card company, so they didn’t mess with it, ” he said, adding that since then the activation tags all the cards.
Indeed, when a thief shot him a second time at a public post, Browne’s adhesive cards were again untouched.
- Pay attention to the payline.
If a cashier or salesperson picks up your card and walks away from you, or it usually takes too long to do a normal transaction, they may be scanning your card into a handheld surveillance terminal to collect the information.
But they don’t need a handheld scanner to capture your information. According to Mark Cravens, the Anti-Scam doctor and author of “the Ten Commandments of investing,” they can take a photo of the front and back of your card with a mobile phone, or simply swap cards.
” Look when they give your card back and make sure it’s yours, not another gold, silver or blue card that looks like yourself, ” he says. “You may not notice that they change your card for days.”
Ninth Go as far as you can without paper.
Sandy Shore, director of education with Novadebt, a nonprofit, New Jersey-based credit counseling agency, advises clients to cut down on mail they receive from banks and financial institutions by stopping paper bills and declarations.
” Access your financial statements from the publisher’s website instead, ” he says. This strategy has an additional environmental benefit bonus.
Similarly, Vaclav Vincalek, president of Pacific Coast Information Systems, an IT security firm, recommends that the paper receipts and financial statements you receive go through the shredder rather than the wastebasket.
“Never discard a credit card receipt,” he says. “Instead shred anything with any number, name, address on it.”
- If you suspect you have fallen victim to identity theft, send a 90-day fraud alert.
If you are concerned that your personal information (credit card or otherwise) may have been compromised, contact one of the major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) and ask for an initial 90-day fraud alert for your credit report files at each bureau .
The warning gives you a free credit report from each bureau and reduces the risk of unauthorized credit activity by telling potential creditors to contact you directly before opening any new credit limits on your name.
Then, if you discover fraudulent activity after reviewing your credit reports, take the warning a step further and freeze your credit while objecting to illegitimacy . Contrary to the free fraud warning, however, a credit freeze fee is about $ 30 and prevents all access to the new credit limits by locking up your credit report.
- – As originally published, this story incorrectly stated that your hotel room keys contained your personal information