Due to the number of merchants and other entities involved in data breaches and the resulting media exposure, consumers are paying more attention to their accounts. That’s a good thing because the best defense against fraud is the cardholder; by being aware and engaged they can help protect themselves from fraud.
Here are some suggestions for actions cardholders can take to mitigate card fraud:
- Notify the institution before they travel or make large or unusual purchases so you can allow these purchases and temporarily raise their limits if needed.
- Sign up for transaction alerts and review transactions online.
- Use online banking to retrieve financial statements. With online access, confidential mail is not sitting in an unlocked mailbox.
- Friendly fraud (the fraudster knows the victim – a relative or friend) accounts for about 10% of fraud. Don’t leave confidential information out in the open.
- Don’t give out personal private data over the Internet or phone unless you initiate the interaction with a trusted source. Do not respond to emails, phone calls or text messages that ask for sensitive information.
- Do not give out card and PIN information. Do not write your PIN on your card or put it in your wallet. Do not use a PIN that can be found in your wallet (birthdate, part of social security number, house number, etc.).
- Do not reveal any sensitive personal information on your Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites.
- Do not respond to text messages, phone messages, emails, or pop-up windows that offer a gift in exchange for providing card information. There are so many scams circulating, it’s hard to stay current; in general DO NOT respond to ANY requests for personal and/or financial information.
- Do not provide your card information to any web site that is not a secure site. A secure website will have an “s” after the “http” in the URL address bar.
- Install and regularly update anti-virus, anti-spyware software and keep computer systems updated.
- Be aware of those around you … don’t let others overhear sensitive financial or personal information.
- Shred documents with sensitive information prior to disposal.
- Select complex passwords for your on line accounts. Avoid using the same password for all accounts.
- Other resources to check out:
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Identity Theft Hotline: 877-ID-THEFT http:l/www.ftc.gov/bcpiedu/microsites/idtheft
- Social Security Administration’s Fraud Hotline: 800.269.0271 http://oig.ssa.gov/