Money solutions you have to know: how to protect yourself against card fraud
Categories: Credit education and credit awareness, Debt Relief, financial literacy
Tags: Credit Health, Credit Wellness, Debt Relief, Debt stress, Financial Health, Financial Literacy, Financial Stress, Financial Tips
Few things cause more financial distress than falling victim to bank card fraud or other forms of identity theft. You have to know how to keep yourself – and your money – safe.
Fraud on your bank card or credit card can happen in many different ways. Someone can go through your rubbish and find account statements you have thrown away and then use your account information to buy things.
Or hackers can get into your bank’s website and steal your card number and personal information. Next thing you get a call from someone pretending to be from the bank and he or she tricks you into disclosing your PIN.
Another possibility is that a store clerk or waiter makes a copy of your card while processing your transaction and then uses your information for their own purposes.
Email scams are rife and many of us receive several messages a day that is not legitimate. Scam messages are often poorly written, so spelling and grammar mistakes should be a warning. An easy clue as to whether or not a message is a real thing is the email address from which it was sent. If it’s not an address from the company in question, the email cannot be real.
The point is that money-related scams are almost endless, and criminals keep coming up with new stories to trick us as consumers into giving them the information they need to get their hands on our money.
Money solutions to keep your accounts safe
Consumers have little control over the cybersecurity measure that banks and other financial institutions put in place. Fortunately, there are many practical steps we can take to keep ourselves safe from financial distress caused by card and identity theft:
- Keep a list of your account numbers and the bank’s fraud hotline at hand. The faster you report a fraudulent transaction, the better the chance that the bank can stop it and recover your money.
- Don’t lend your card to anyone, not even your partner, kids or best friend. For them to use your card, they will also need your PIN, and you will have no control over what they do with your money. Importantly, if you have given your card and PIN to someone else, the bank will not help you to cancel unauthorised transactions.
- Keep your cards, receipts, and statements in a safe place. When you no longer need a card or if it has expired, cut it up before throwing it away. The same applies to paperwork: shred your statements or tear them into tiny pieces before you throw them away.
- Don’t give your account number to anyone over the phone unless you made the call to do a transaction. If someone claims to be from your bank but something doesn’t sound right, rather end the call and call the bank’s call centre.
- Never write your PIN down on a piece of paper you keep in your wallet. It is also not safe to keep your PIN as a message on SMS or WhatsApp on your phone. Criminals know where to look for numbers.
- Register for your bank’s notification service so that you get a notice – usually in the form of an SMS – whenever a transaction goes off your account.
- Save your receipts to compare with your bank or credit card statement.
- If you detect any suspicious activity on your account or credit card, get in touch with your bank’s fraud department immediately.
- Always use safe internet connections when you do online transactions or log into your bank or credit card account. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are not safe, making it easy for cybercriminals to get access to account information and passwords.
- Make sure your passwords are strong, use different passwords for different accounts, and change them on a regular basis.
- Never click on a link in a suspicious email, and never give your bank account details and PIN over email.
We live in a world where criminals are always on the lookout for an opportunity to either steal money directly or to get the information that will open our bank accounts to them. By taking fairly simple precautions, you can keep yourself safe from this particular type of financial distress.
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