How Credit Card Hacked ? And How To Stay Safe
Professionals take a minute, sometimes just a second, to pilfer your credit card data. “Back in the beginning, they got the imprint of credit cards from the carbon copies they dug out of the trash,” says William Noonan, a U.S. Secret Service special agent formerly in charge of the agency’s cyber operations branch. “Technology has changed things.”
Credit card numbers do get stolen, and credit card fraud does happen, both online and offline. But how does it happen? How does a thief get your card number? Why don’t verification systems prevent these problems? And what can you do to keep your own cards safe? Let’s take a look at credit card fraud and find out how you can protect yourself. Here are the most common ways thieves steal your credit card information. Monitoring your credit report for suspicious activity is a good habit.
Getting Your Card Number
Your card itself can also be the target for card thieves. With the increase in contactless payment credit cards, radio frequency identification (RFID) scanners have become a more popular method to steal credit card information; all a thief needs to do is get a scanning device in close range to your card, and they’ll have all the information they need.
Using Your Credit Card
How to Protect Yourself from Credit Card Fraud
As you can see from the list above, there are a lot of different ways that fraudsters can obtain and use your credit card information—it might seem like it’s impossible to protect yourself. But by following a few simple guidelines, you can significantly decrease the chances that you’ll fall victim to credit card fraud.
First, don’t share your card information over the phone or in an email. Most credit card companies, banks, and stores won’t ask for your credit card information via email, so an email asking for this information should be a clear sign that you’re being scammed. If you need to share your information over the phone, be sure that no one is around to overhear you.
Second, pay attention to online security news; if a retailer or a bank that might have your credit card information gets hacked, call your bank, tell them what happened, and ask for a new card. You could wait to see if you get any suspicious charges on your account before alerting your bank, but it’s up to you whether or not you want to take that chance before starting the process.
Fourth, be on the lookout for any card-scanning device that looks like it’s been tampered with. ATMs, pay-at-the-pump gas stations, small stores and restaurants, and many other places can be targeted by skimmers. If something looks suspicious, use another method to pay. Make cash withdrawals from within your bank, pay at the counter when you buy gas, and don’t let your card out of your sight.
What you can do
- Set up mobile banking alerts for your smartphone. That way, you can be notified of unusual credit card activity as soon as possible.
- Regularly monitor your accounts online, so you can identify fraudulent transactions sooner.
- Avoid public computers. Don’t log on to your email if your bank corresponds with you there. Urban suggests setting up an email account just for your finances and checking it from safe locations.
- Avoid doing business with unfamiliar online vendors, Noonan says. Stick to established merchants and websites.
- If your information has been compromised, notify your financial institutions and local law enforcement. Ask the major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — to set up a fraud alert on your credit reports.