A Quick Guide to Averting Credit Card Identity Theft
Identity theft is a serious issue and unfortunately, it has become widespread. People are comfortable using their Credit Cards for online and offline purchases. However, it exposes them to a lot of risks because they share vital information about their Credit Cards. You never know who is snooping around to steal your information. Here are some essential facts on identity theft and how you can keep your details safe.
Identity theft – No physical possession required
Identity thieves do not require physical possession of your Credit Card. These smart people need one piece of information about you to get access to your details. Do not make it easier for them by carrying your Credit Cards with you at all times. Keep them at home when you do not need to use them.
Innocuous information can reveal a lot
People have the habit of sharing vital information like date of birth, phone numbers, address and so forth on many websites. It may look like innocuous bits of information to you, but identity thieves consider it a gold mine. They can use this information to steal your identity.
Be on the guard when your Credit Card bill does not arrive
People still prefer banks to send physical copies of the Credit Card bills to their residential address. Therefore, be on your guard when the bill for a particular month does not arrive. An identity thief could have changed the billing address. Contact your Credit Card issuing bank and confirm the same. Similarly, be careful of other personal items that come by mail. It includes your cheque books and bank account statements. One way to avoid such a loss is to request for soft copies of your bills online. The banks send encrypted documents that require the use of a password to open the file.
Register your mobile number for SMS alerts
Banks have the facility of sending you SMS alerts every time you use your Credit Card. They might charge a nominal amount as their charges. You should not mind paying these charges as this is a handy service. Any fraudulent entry will alert you immediately. You can take immediate action. Similarly, review all your bank accounts and Credit Card statements carefully, especially for the small debits. Identity thieves try out small amounts to check your awareness levels before trying out something big.
Beware of phishing websites
Phishing websites are dangerous because they resemble the original webpage in many aspects of design, color, and other vital features. Never access your bank website from an external link. Make it a habit of typing out your bank website on the address bar of the search engine. Look out for the ‘https’ feature on the site before entering vital information.
Your ATMs can become sources of information for hackers
If your ATM slot looks different, be careful while using it. Skimming is a favorite technique in use today. Identity thieves insert a small skimming device in the ATM card slot. It captures your crucial data thereby enabling the identity thieves to clone your card. You can identify the skimming device if you look at the card slot carefully. You will find an extra piece of plastic sticking out from the slot.
Do not use public wireless internet connections
Travelers need to be wary of using public wireless internet connections. It is also advisable to be careful of strangers around you while using your Credit Cards at the ATM or mobile phone.
Identity thieves are smart. Be smarter
Specific Credit Cards come with a “Please Activate” sticker on it. Usually, you activate the card and remove the sticker. Remember, the sticker is just to remind you to activate the card. You activate the card using your registered phone number. You can outsmart the identity thieves by leaving the “Please Activate” sticker intact even after activating the card. You can avert physical theft of such cards in this manner.
Be watchful when you hand over your Credit Cards to the salesperson or cashier
Not all salespersons/cashiers are thieves. However, it pays to be careful. Observe them when they use your card. If they lake an inordinately long time to process the payment, check out whether they use a handheld skimming device. Secondly, confirm that the card they hand over to you after the transaction belongs to you. There have been instances of unscrupulous people replacing original cards with spurious ones.
Report any instance of identity theft immediately to get insurance cover
Credit Cards come with identity theft insurance coverage. It is better to report instances of identity theft to the concerned bank and block the card from further use. Prompt reporting of theft or loss of the card is necessary for claiming insurance. Check out the best Credit Card offers on MyMoneyMantra when you Apply for Credit Cards Online.
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