It does not come across as surprising as more and more people have taken to online shopping and transactions using their credit cards.
The ease and convenience of credit cards make them a preferred mode of payment for many consumers. For swindlers, on the other hand, this opens up new possibilities to commit frauds and scams.
Protecting our hard-earned money in this digital era is more difficult than it has ever been. There is a constant struggle between security systems and cybercriminals, with one trying to outsmart the other.
Nonetheless, it’s not viable for most people to switch to cash alone and not deal with credit/debit cards at all. The need of the hour is awareness—learning how to protect yourself from scammers around the world.
5 rules to prevent credit card attacks
Card cracking is just a term for different methods that cybercriminals use to steal credit (and even debit) card information.
Having access to sensitive information allows them to launder money from the victim’s account.
Today we will talk about 5 things that anyone can do to prevent credit card fraud. Without further ado, let’s begin.
1. Never share information about your credit card
It’s never a wise thing to lure scammers and cybercriminals by sharing information about your credit card, be it online or in the real world.
Recent social media trends include posting a picture of your credit card, and most people do it after blurring the number and CVV code. Even if you are masking the key information about the card, it’s still not a wise thing to post a picture of your credit card online. It’s one of the most basic cybersecurity mistakes.
Even tiny errors in the masking process can open up possibilities of reconstructing your credit card number and CVV.
On top of that, the mere act of sharing the photo reveals a couple of information about the card, like when it was issued, which bank issued it, and so on. You gain absolutely nothing from showing the world your credit card but you do put yourself at risk of card cracking.
The practice of hiding your credit card identity is a learnable habit. It includes so many things like not leaving your credit card in hotel lobbies, store desks, office cubicles, and so on.
You can take it a step ahead by physically scratching/removing the CVV from the card after having it stored securely in another place. Doing so will add another layer of security to card cracking prevention.
You should also aim to avoid paper trails of credit cards. When you buy something with your credit card, the bill would usually has the entire credit card number printed. Professional credit card crackers use even the tiniest hints to attack your credit card. It’s important that you shred all such paper trails and not leave behind any trace of information about your card.
Consider investing in a shredder, even a cheap one from Amazon will do the work. A shredder allows you to shred all paper trails beyond reconstruction.
When you get a new credit card, your older one is usually still active for at least a few days. The shredder will come into play here as well, as you can shred your old credit card into tiny pieces.
With chip-based, contactless credit cards, it’s now possible to steal credit card information without even seeing or touching it.
The RFID chip allows smooth, contactless transactions, but also puts you at a risk of credit card cracking. Invest in an RFID-blocking wallet to prevent such things from happening. You can easily buy one for $10 to $20, and it would go a long way to protect your money.
Some of the things we talked about are fairly simple, yet play a key role in protecting your money.
Following these steps will make your credit card much more secure. You must make these things a habit so that you do not have to consciously think about them every time you use a credit card. The general idea is to minimize, if not eliminate, sharing credit card information with anyone apart from people you absolutely trust.
2. Sign up for all transaction alerts
All credit card providers give the option of receiving alerts whenever there’s a transaction from your card. You should opt-in for all these alerts, be it SMS alerts or notifications through an app. What this does is make you aware of even the smallest activity from your card.
However, getting alerts does not accomplish anything in itself. Instead, it enables you to block your credit card at the first instance of financial theft. You must never ignore even the most insignificant transaction if it looks even a bit suspicious. Report the matter to your bank immediately, and have your card blocked before anything else.
Using a dedicated app to monitor all credit card transactions is also a good idea. It ensures that you have a track of every single transaction and know precisely where things might have gone wrong.
Another thing you can do is more of a disaster management tip than a preventive measure.
Keep the limit of your credit card only up to a certain threshold. If you know you are never going to surpass a $50,000 limit, there’s no reason to keep such a high credit card limit. Reduce it to $30,000, $20,000, or whatever is suitable for you.
Here, the general idea is to be aware of how your credit card is being used and prevent things from becoming worse if your credit card data indeed gets stolen.
3. Do not store credit card data online
Many eCommerce platforms give you the option of storing your credit card number and CVV
online. Doing so makes online shopping very convenient, especially if you are a frequent shopper.
While it does save a few minutes of your life, it also ends up putting you at a much higher risk of card cracking.
Once you have stored credit card data on an eCommerce platform, scammers have more than one avenue of getting access to sensitive data. Now they can instead target your Amazon account, for example. Breaking into an Amazon account is much easier than stealing credit card details.
Do not make things easier for cybercriminals by storing credit card info online.
In the same context, be careful about which eCommerce websites you use.
The phenomenon called website spoofing refers to the creation of a website that looks like a legitimate website but is indeed a fake. These websites do not appear in Google search results, but through spam messages, emails, and so on. Always check the URL of a website before entering any sensitive information.
Make sure that you do not permanently store credit card data online, no matter how frequently you use a website.
4. Beware of phishing
Phishing is an old trick in the scammers’ book, but it still surprisingly works. 25% of all data breaches still involve phishing.
Phishing refers to the act of stealing personal information in the guise of a legitimate person or entity. It’s fairly simple to identify phishing, but it still gets to people because they are often unaware of basic phishing tricks.
Most aware people know that no legitimate person would ask for credit card information over phone calls, SMS, or emails. It’s better to never share credit card information with another person rather than regret it later.
Banks and credit card service providers usually have their set of guidelines to prevent phishing. Read these guidelines and take note of whether your credit card service provider ever asks for card information in person. In most cases, they never ask for card information over the phone, emails, or text messages.
5. Secure your card physically
Securing your card physically is the last thing we’ll talk about since it’s the most intuitive thing to do.
In an age of digital transactions, we often forget about the importance of analog thefts and scams. But stealing your card physically is easier than it seems – all it takes is one skilled pickpocket or thief.
There are different things you can do to protect your credit card physically, but nothing beats common sense and awareness.
If you will be at a place where the chances of theft are high, it’s wiser to not carry your credit card or store it in a secret pocket. If you know you wouldn’t need the credit card at all, better leave it at home.
While physically securing the credit card is not the first thing that comes to mind when we discuss card cracking, it’s indeed crucial for overall safety and security.
Preventing Card Cracking: Conclusion
We hope these tips and ideas will help you be more aware of credit card security, especially when using it for online transactions.
Remember that there’s no alternative to education and awareness. The more you know and understand, the safer you and your money are.