Identity theft and fraud are serious issues that affect millions of people every year. You could spend months or years trying to correct the damage they can do to your credit. The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent this from happening.
1. Be Careful When Shopping Online
To prevent ecommerce fraud, you need to make sure that the website you are using is secure. This means that there is a symbol that looks like a lock next to the web address and that the address starts with https (not http). While certain vendors will offer the option to save your credit card information for future purchases, this may make you more vulnerable to hacking. Vendors usually have a chargeback management system to safeguard themselves from fraud; you should take measures to secure your own accounts. Before you enter your card information, make sure that no one else can see what you are doing on your computer or phone.
2. Pick the Right Passwords and Manage Them Carefully
If you shop online often, you will accumulate a lot of usernames and passwords on different websites. Do not create passwords that would be easy to guess. This means that you should not use any part of your name, birthday or address. Try to use a long password with lowercase and uppercase letters as well as punctuation and numbers. Do not write your passwords down. If this sounds like an overwhelming amount of information to remember, you can use a secure password manager to generate and store your passwords and usernames.
3. Protect Your Cards
An easy way to keep your card number from being stolen is to keep your card in a safe place. Do not put your cards in your pocket as a pickpocket can quickly steal them that way. Try not to put all of your cards in the same place. If your card gets lost or stolen, contact your card company as soon as possible.
When you make an in-store purchase, try to cover the number up with your thumb when you can. Place your card back in your wallet or purse quickly after your business is complete. If you see anything attached to the credit card reader that seems unusual, halt the sale and notify the store owner right away. This could be a “skimming” device designed to steal your card number.