Credit card fraud can seem like a scary monster lurking in the closet—is the potential for theft there, or is it just your imagination? We’re going to demystify the easy steps you can take to keep your identity, and your finances, safe. Here’s everything you need to know.
Make Sure You’re Taking Necessary Precautions
Yeah, those shoes look great, or that lawn furniture you found is available for a great price. But can you really trust that vendor? And that storefront looks a little sketchy. Are you sure this is a legitimate business? Do your due diligence, and put in the time to research before you hand over your plastic. You especially want to pay attention at the gas pump and at ATMs. Look for skimming devices on the machine, and be aware of your surroundings. Plus, remember that not all fraud is technology-based. It’s best to cover the keypad when you enter your PIN.
Upgrade to EMV Cards
An EMV card, also known as a chip card, stores your data on an integrated computer chip instead of on a magnetic stripe. The data on the magnetic stripe never changes, making it easy for someone to copy and duplicate. The chip, on the other hand, is ever-changing, generating a new unique code for each transaction to keep your info secure. Make sure you put your money in a bank or credit union that issues these cards.
Process Your Online Payments Safely and Securely
When you’re shopping online, make sure to only shop at sites you trust if you’re entering payment information. Use the integrated online bill pay directly with your financial institution for the best security when moving money online. And keep in mind, it’s best to be wary of shopping ads you see on social media since you didn’t seek out that business and don’t have a good reference for whether they’re legit.
Make Sure to Have Up-To-Date Anti-Malware Software
Your first line of defense against credit card fraud is making sure your electronic information is secure. Be sure any personal info is sent through an encrypted channel, and that all your electronics have the latest anti-malware software installed. The stronger your passwords are for your accounts, the better protected you are.
Report “Suspected” Fraud Immediately
Check your bank account and credit card balances regularly, and flag any suspicious transactions as soon as you spot them pending. You don’t want to wait for the transaction to clear before you report weird activity. Contact your financial institution right away, and then call the fraud hotline on the back of your card. They’ll cancel your card and issue a new one to protect your money.
Continue Educating Yourself on Fraud
Fraud is like a river—it’s always flowing and adapting, changing the landscape of personal security. You can stay on top of your identity safety by staying informed about the latest scams and trends out there. But remember, you’re not alone in this. Your financial institution is here to help you protect your money. Just be sure to stay alert, and take fraud seriously.
RMCU has your back when it comes to protecting your hard-earned cash.
Speak with a financial advisor today about more ways you can protect your finances with an account at RMCU.
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