It’s a scenario no credit cardholder wants to imagine – a criminal gets your credit card number and goes on a spending spree. If your credit card number is ever fraudulently used you obviously will have to get a new card with a new number. Legally, you are responsible for no more than $50 in liability but the major credit card networks (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover) all promise zero liability.
U.S. credit cards are currently transitioning to microchip technology which will make it harder for criminals to intercept usable data from payment transactions. With the new smart-chip embedded cards, the information in these payment transactions is repeatedly re-encrypted to provide enhanced security to cardholders. However, as many times happens, when one door closes another one opens and this certainly holds true for crooks and scammers. Experts foresee fraud shifting to another target: the use of card numbers to make fraudulent online purchases.
While there are no guarantees that your credit card information won’t be stolen, there are some common-sense steps you can take to lower your risk.
1) Contact Your Credit Card Issuers
Arrange with your issuers to receive email or text message alerts when there are transactions over a certain amount – perhaps $100.
2) Check Your Accounts Often
Get in the habit of taking 10 minutes a day to quickly look over your accounts. Look for suspicious transactions especially those of $10 or less. Many times criminals will test the authenticity of card numbers by initially making very small purchases. If you use your card at an ATM or gas pump always try to shield the keypad when you enter a PIN in case there is a hidden camera lurking. Also be alert to card reader attachments at these types of locations. If you have any misgivings don’t use your card.
If you do happen to become a victim of credit card theft, immediately contact your card issuer. Your current credit card number will be cancelled and you will be issued a new card with a new number- hopefully with smart-chip technology! Also, if you have recurring payments taken from your credit card each month remember to notify the necessary parties to update your credit card information.