3 Ways to Prevent Credit Card Identity Theft

While the likelihood of somebody stealing your entire identity has gone down in recent years, complaints of fraud have been on the rise. In other words, thieves are less likely to attempt to completely assume your identity, but they are more likely to steel just enough information in order to use it for their own purposes. Roughly nine million Americans are victimized by identity theft in one way or another each year. Here are some things that you can do in order to prevent this from happening to you.

Avoiding Online Fraud

One of the biggest reasons for the increase in credit card theft is the emergence of the internet. It doesn’t matter if you are using cash back credit cards or a debit card, you are putting yourself at risk if you enter in your information without taking a few steps to verify your security.

The threat of making a purchase online shouldn’t be overstated. It is generally safe to buy things online, but there are a few things you can do to keep yourself safe.

First of all, you should know who you are making the purchase from. Large, well known websites can generally be trusted. Before making a purchase, however, you should always check the site address in order to make sure that you are where you think you are. Site logos can be stolen and pasted on a false site, so verify the site address.

You can also check for security seals before making any purchase online in order to verify that the payment is going through safely. The bottom right corner of your browser should display a padlock that has been locked whenever you are asked for personal information.

Avoiding Phone Fraud

Never give out your personal information to somebody who calls you. It is safe to give this information over the phone, but only if you know exactly who you are talking to. If somebody calls you and asks you for your personal information, tell them that you will call them back at their corporate number to discuss the issue. If it is a legitimate call, they will understand why you are doing this.

Once a criminal has your credit card number, they can call you and pretend to be your credit card company. They may ask for personal information like your mother’s maiden name or even your social security number. They can use this information not only to use your credit card, but to take out additional loans and hurt your credit score, putting you in debt.

Protecting Your Cards

You should always keep your credit card and your other valuable information on hand when you are in public. This information should be where you can see or feel it at all times. When entering a PIN number at the store, cover your hand so that nobody can see what number you are entering.

Never leave your credit card in the car. It can be stolen, or the information on the card can be written down. Cut up old credit cards before you throw them away.

Take the same care to protect your children’s information. It is not unheard of for criminals to steel children’s social security numbers and use them to take out credit.


Debit Card Scammers Use Text Messages to Hack

Most text messages from companies could be classified as junk mail, and like junk mail they’re beginning to hold spam. The newest trend in debit scamming is through text messages. Scammers are using text messages to tap into unsuspecting consumers bank accounts and drain them of their resources.

While there are a variety of text message scams, a few are becoming increasingly popular. According to reports, scam victims received texts that informed them that their bank account was frozen or that they have won cash prizes. The text then asks them to call a toll-free number to provide their debit card account number and PIN number. The automated system is a fake, and is designed to get consumers personal bank account information.

According to the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB), text messages claiming to “Win cash now!” and “Short on cash? Reply here!” are obvious scams. These text messages come with links that spread viruses throughout consumers’ phones. “Don’t take the bait. Scammers are preying on victims’ fears and greed,” the BBB said in a press release.

“These hackers are looking for you to respond with vital information that can ultimately lead to identity theft,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau, (a Credit Land Rep.). “Hackers want you to wire them money before receiving your ‘prize,’” she said “That is one of the biggest red flags of a scam.”

In DeWitt County, Texas, Sheriff Jered Shofner has warned residents of a telephone scam that has already affected several homes. It involves a call from a personal number where an automated voice is disguised to sound like they’re calling from a financial institution.

A pre-recorded message informs the call there is an issue with their debit card, then requests the caller to enter his or her debit card number for verification purposes. The thief then has access to the private debit card information and all the money in the bank account.

“Providing the numbers can lead to an empty bank account. Never give out your personal information unless you know exactly who you are dealing with, and they have a legitimate need for the information,” Shofner said in a written release.