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March 6 – 11 is National Consumer Protection Week. To help you prevent card fraud we’re talking about simple steps for you to follow to use your credit and debit cards safely.
The simplicity of using credit and debit cards make them a key aspect of our everyday purchasing habits. And with many of us shopping online for most of our goods, there are less reasons to keep cash on hand.
There’s no denying that using cards is convenient. But they’ve also increased the chance to become the victim of identity theft.
After all, if a thief steals your cash, you’re out some money. If that same thief steals your credit card or debit card, they could continue to spend your money until you finally notice your card is missing.
Using Your Cards Safely
It’s important for you to take the steps necessary to protect yourself and prevent card fraud. Follow these simple steps when using your cards:
Store your cards in a safe place. Treat your cards much like you’d treat cash or checks and store them in a wallet, purse, etc. away from easy access. You can even store your cards in your digital wallet and use your phone to make transactions.
Never send your card number via email. We’re all more comfortable today with sending personal information through text or email. But you should never send your credit or debit card number to anyone via email, even if you trust the recipient. If your email is hacked, the hacker has an open invitation to stealing your card information as well.
Don’t give your card number over the phone. There are some exceptions to this rule. It’s fine to give your card number if you’re calling a restaurant to make an order or a hotel to make reservations. However, if someone calls you saying that they’re from your card issuer, they’re probably a scammer. Your card issuer will never call you to ask for your account number.
Study your account statements. Search your credit card statements for any unusual transactions that you don’t remember making. Check your bank statements regularly to ensure that no one has gained access and made unauthorized purchases or withdrawals.
Protect Yourself with Extra Security
If you want to amp up your card security, you can also:
Guard your card with CardValet. Give yourself peace of mind with an added layer of security. With Horizon’s CardValet, you can get real-time purchase alerts, enable cell phone nearness technology to ensure you’re the one making purchases and use on / off controls to turn your card off and – if you end up finding it again – to turn it back on.
Shred bank / credit card statements. It’s an old-fashioned way to gain your personal information, but some identity thieves aren’t above digging through your trash to find your old statements. By shredding them before recycling or throwing them in the trash you make it virtually impossible to salvage.
Shred pre-approved credit card offers. Some thieves might use these offers to open credit card accounts in your name, which can wreck your credit score.
Contact your card issuer as soon as you believe your information has been stolen. The sooner you call, the faster your financial institution can shut down your stolen card or account. If someone does steal your credit or debit card you may not be liable for unauthorized purchases. Be sure to check your card agreement or ask your card issuer.