Being proactive and protecting your credit card information year round is essential to prevent identity theft.
While protecting your credit cards is often common sense, scammers are still looking for passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs). If scammers are successful in obtaining your personal information, it can be very costly, according to Jennifer George, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Community Bank.
“If consumers don’t promptly report fraudulent activity, they could be held accountable,” George said. “This means they could suffer permanent or temporary financial loss.”
George and Community Bank have put together a list of tips to help consumers protect their credit card information and shop with confidence.
Practice credit card protection from the start
As soon as you get a new card, be sure to sign on the back, George said. This protects you in the event your card is lost or stolen. Also, make sure to turn on suspicious activity alerts and choose a strong password that is unique to each account. If your account requires a PIN code, do not choose a combination that is unique to you, such as your date of birth or the digits of your social security number.
Keep your account number private
Do not let anyone see your card when you are in public. George said to be selective when giving your account information over the phone; only offer it when you initiate the call and speak with a representative you trust. Note that a financial institution will not call you, send you an SMS or an email asking for your account information.
Always be suspicious when you receive a communication (email, text, social media message) asking for personal information or clicking on a suspicious link.
Consider receiving paperless statements and making online payments to remove your sensitive information from the postal system. It’s also a good idea to shred documents containing sensitive personal data rather than just throwing them in the trash.
Keep your information up to date
Keeping your personal information up to date allows your financial institution to contact you quickly and easily in the event of fraud or suspicious activity, George said. Be sure to notify your financial institution if you move or get a new number or email.
Secure your devices and your network
If you allow your browser to store your credit card information, you could be vulnerable. To avoid this, consider turning off the autofill feature in every browser you use.
Also consider using a digital wallet. Digital wallets are payment systems hosted on your smartphone that allow you to conduct electronic transactions using your credit cards quickly and securely. Since digital wallets use encryption, tokenization, and authentication, they are more secure than carrying your credit cards. If you’re using a digital wallet, make sure your smartphone is password and fingerprint protected, and that you download an app to make it easier to find your phone if it’s lost.
Protect yourself online
It is important to always practice basic online and mobile security. When shopping online, be sure to look for sites with “https” in the web address (the s stands for secure) and the green padlock icon. In addition, do not allow the storage of your credit card information on an online shopping site, and do not make purchases or financial transactions using a public Wi-Fi network.
“The main reason for fraud is that consumers don’t use encrypted emails and secure websites,” said George. “There are many scams out there and consumers need to be sure that they are not the victim of a fraudster. “
Check your account often and report fraud immediately
Examining recent account activity is fundamental to credit card security, said George. Most transmitters allow you to configure alerts by email or SMS. If you lose your credit card or suspect fraudulent activity, contact your financial institution or issuer immediately. They can block your card and account number to prevent further fraud and issue you a new card.
George said issuers and financial institutions are required to educate consumers about the fraud process, but consumers are responsible for understanding the process and acting on it.
“It never hurts to call and ask your transmitter about the process,” George said. “Consumers need to know what to do and what to expect if they discover a fraudulent purchase. “
About the Community Bank
Community Bank is an independent, locally managed bank that provides comprehensive financial services to regional businesses and residents.
Approved by the United States in 1901 as the First National Bank of Carmichaels, the Community Bank has grown steadily over the past 120 years.
Today, Community Bank continues to offer constant personalized service, coupled with the latest financial services and technologies. With offices in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and with dedicated sales relations officers, Community Bank offers old-school relationship banking services notable for their speed, flexibility and common sense.
To learn more about Community Bank and the services and products it offers, visit www.communitybank.tv.
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