This post brought to you by Chase. The content and opinions expressed below are that of My Alternate Life.
I’m sure this has happened to you:
You wake up, grab a coffee, and log into your computer. After flicking through your Facebook feed, you load up your credit card account and quickly scan the recent transactions. Then you almost choke on your coffee when you see a transaction that you do not recognize. For a hot second, you stare at the screen while the paranoid side of your brain screams “CREDIT CARD FRAUD! PANIC!”
This has happened to me, and fortunately, the panic only lasts for a few seconds before something clicks in my memory and I remember, “Oh yeah, I spent $45 buying dog toys from a random online retailer.” Crisis averted.
I’ve been very fortunate in my life to have never been a victim of credit card fraud, and that is partly due to luck, and partly because I protect myself and take steps to make sure my information is kept secure. Here are some of the key steps I take to protect my information and myself:
- I’ve set up account alerts for both my credit card and my checking account. If there is suspicious activity, like a large withdrawal, I receive a notification. 99% of the time it’s nothing, but I like knowing my lender will notify me anyway.
- I keep my contact information updated. I have a list of websites and companies to notify every time my address or phone number changes. It takes about an hour to go through the entire list, but it’s worth the time to know that if something suspicious happens, my credit card provider can get in touch with me right away.
- I receive my credit card statements online instead of my mail, and I check my account activity on my credit card once a week. I go through each individual transaction as part of my spending tracking. Since my husband and I use cash for our daily spending, there are usually only a few transactions per week. It doesn’t take long and ensures nothing sneaks past me.
I also take steps to secure my credit card and protect its integrity when I’m shopping. Here are the basic security precautions I always take:
- I only shop at trusted retailers online. If I want to buy something from a website that looks even a little sketchy, I use PayPal instead. Only shop sites that are secure and begin with https as opposed to http.
- I do not respond to unsolicited contact from my bank via email or text messages. If someone claiming to be my bank or lender tries to reach out, I’ll look up the main number on their website and call that.
- I also never click on any links from emails claiming to be from my lender or bank. I always use Google search to bring up the website, because scammers are skilled at making dummy websites that look like the real thing in order to harvest your credit card information.
I also am very strict about my passwords. I know lots of people who use the same password for everything, from social media to their online banking, and I think that is just asking for trouble.
Personally, I have a variety of passwords. I have certain passwords for social media, certain passwords for online banking and CRA login, and a single unique password for this blog. I change everything up about once a year and it’s always a random combo of numbers and letters so they can’t be guessed by hackers.
Credit Card Fraud Protection is All About Knowledge
Many people tend to intentionally avoid learning about credit card fraud protection because it seems like a daunting subject and it inspires anxiety. It’s like planning for your funeral or buying insurance. It’s morbid. But by taking proactive steps for fraud protection, consumers can help fight fraud and improve their personal “Fraud IQ.”
A great place to start learning more about fraud prevention is by visiting the Chase website. They have a great section full of features and tips on how to protect your information and reduce your chances of becoming a target for credit card fraud.
- Zero-Liability Protection – You won’t be held responsible for fraudulent charges made with your card or account information.
- 24/7 Fraud Monitoring – We use specialized tools to monitor for fraud and may text, email or call you if there is anything unusual on your account.
- Embedded Chip Technology – A chip adds another layer of security to cards when used at a chip card reader. During the chip transaction, the chip produces a single-use code to validate the transaction – further protecting cards from unauthorized use.
- Fast Recovery – Chase ships you a new credit card immediately if fraud is confirmed or if your card is lost or stolen. If you’re traveling and away from home, Chase will work with you to authorize the credit card purchases you need.
Fraud prevention is a partnership between cardholders and their bank. By working together, you and your bank can help you keep your accounts safer and more secure.
After doing a little bit of research, or if you think you already know your stuff, you can also test your knowledge with the “What’s My Fraud IQ?” Quiz from USA Today. I took it and although I scored pretty high, I still learned a thing or two!
Have you ever been a victim of credit card fraud? I want to know!