Credit Card Theft
In about a decade, the popularity of using plastic cards as a form of payment has risen; it is now more uncommon to find someone paying with cash than it is with a card. There are two major forms of card options: credit cards and debit cards. Although cards are more convenient, they also pose several risks when it comes time to use them. With the amount of technology that is being embedded in cards, thieves have evolved to exploit their new weaknesses.
In this blog, we will talk about what credit card and identity theft is, and how thieves are able to exploit technology and steal your data. We will also talk about what to do in order to minimize risks, to keep your information safe.
What is credit card and identity theft?
Credit card fraud occurs on the daily in every country. Credit card fraud is essentially a form of identity theft in which the thief uses the credit line under your name to make unauthorized purchases and cash withdrawals. The methods by which your credit card id can be stolen can vary from case to case; the two possible ways in which this could happen is by either physical card theft or by using your account number and PIN. A criminal could also use your personal information to open a line of credit on your name if they have enough of your personal information. This is a very big deal, especially to credit companies, and to card user themselves. Because of how common identity theft occurs, card issuers are actually pretty experience when it comes to helping their customers deal with fraud. In the end, the customer usually does not have to deal with the unapproved purchases. However, the process to recovering from the fraud can be long and very annoying; if by any chance the fraud is not able to be fixed, it can have a big negative effect on your credit score.
How does credit card fraud occur?
There are a few ways in which a thief could steal your credit card. They could snatch a card from a table or wallet where you keep your cards. Another common method is by taking newly issued cards from mailboxes. If your card goes missing, or if get notified of a new card in the mail and have not received a card in the mail, inform the card issuer immediately.
In the event of a criminal taking over your credit account, they will contact your card issuer and use your information to change PINs, passwords, mailing address, etc. in order to control your account and lock you out. Depending on how often you use your card, this can take a while to notice, and even longer to sort out with the card issuer.
One of the most popular ways, by thieves, to steal credit cards is by using devices called skimmers. Skimmers is a form of device that fits over card readers on gas pumps and sale terminals. Card skimmers can allow thieves to copy your card number when swiping your card, then make a duplicate when they come pick up the data saved. EMV chip-equipped cards have made this process much more difficult to skim cards. Another form similar to a card skimmer is reading contactless cards from a distance. Thieves can walk near you and read your cards if they are able to get a sensor close enough to your cards. Nowadays, most wallets have an RFID blocking layer to prevent unwarranted card skims using RFID.
Another way in which a thief could use your information is by stealing the card details. Thieves can get away with using your card by taking a picture or memorizing the credit card number, pin, and the name on the card. That sort of information can also be leaked with a security breach on websites and databases you use to shop. Especially if you save your card information to the website, if a database were to get hacked, thieves could obtain your card information, address, and other personal information. In recent years, it is becoming more common to hear about a large company or corporation being hacked, resulting in millions of people’s personal information being leaked.
What does credit card fraud affect and how to deal with it?
There are many ways in which credit fraud can affect you and your accounts. For the most part, if you are able to detect credit card fraud early, most people can recover from most of the damages, if not all. However, the process to getting your credit account cleared is long and time consuming. And while you wait for the fraud to be cleared from your account, anyone checking your credit account can still see the damages done while you wait. Depending on the kind of fraud and how long it has been going on for, there are two main ways in which identity theft can affect your credit scores.
The first way in which your credit score will be affected with high credit utilization. Since the thief does not care about how much money they will be loading onto your account, they will use your card till it is maxed out. This is bad, to you as the user, because high credit utilization composes 30% of your credit score. The second way in which your score will be affected is by late payments. It is difficult to pay for credit balances that you are not aware of. By not knowing about an open account, you’ll be unable to sync your bank account to pay for the balances. Unpaid and late balances could result in the charges being sent to collection and a poor score report under that category of the report. Making and forgetting to make payments account for 35% of your FICO credit score.
Bank and credit agencies have made it easier to report suspicious and known malicious activity on your credit accounts. For the majority of cases, credit agencies have phone numbers, which you can call, in order to report unwanted activity and the employee will be there to explain the process to you. It is also recommended that you report the fraud to law enforcement. To begin the report process, visit IdentityTheft.gov; this website was created by the Federal Trade Commission to facilitate and encourage people to report fraud.
The best form of defense, is by targeting the source
When is comes to bank and credit card fraud, the best way to prevent it starts with the user themselves. One must safely guard their data at all cost, because one simple mistake can result in a long recovery process. To prevent your information from being stolen, these are a few steps to make it more difficult to be a victim of credit theft. Guard your wallet and purse carefully when out in public; by leaving your cards or wallets in plain sight, and unsupervised, it may make it easier for a thief to steal your card. Secondly, leave any unused cards, or cards that you rarely use, at home. This goes the same for passports and social security cards unless you have no other form of identity.
Shopping online is very common nowadays. Be sure to only use websites that start their URL with https:// and that they are the original and real site. The https:// part of the address indicated that your communication with the server is encrypted. When handing over information, be sure they are who they say they are. Almost all companies will never contact you asking for your credit card and other information. In the event that you receive a call from someone who claims to be in a government position or business, you are allowed to hang up and call one of the numbers listed on their websites to confirm that you are talking the right person and business. Another reliable way to determine if you have been a victim of identity theft is actually hosted by credit card companies.
Most nowadays have a credit fraud detection service that is either free or can be purchased for a few dollars a month. The reports take your social security number and credit accounts linked to you and notify you if there is any suspicious activity or new accounts created under your identity.
Although we do not provide credit card theft services, we do provide security protection for your devices in the event that your computer gets compromised. Give us a call to learn more about what we can do for you and your business. We provide services like endpoint protection and firewalls which help protect you and your data from being distributed and shared without you permission. Our firewall blocks unwanted internet traffic so that suspicious websites, that are normally meant to steal and bait you into giving away information, are not visited. And in the event of your device being infected, our endpoint protection will be there to safeguard your data and lock it down. This prevents data loss and unwanted programs from running, preventing them from launching, keeping your data safe. Contact us to learn about the kind of solutions we can personalize for your business and workers to keep their data ad devices safe.