Credit card fraud isn’t new, but scammers have grown more sophisticated in their methods. In this article, we break down the various ways your credit card information can get stolen, what to do if it happens to you, and how to protect yourself from credit card fraud in the future.
How do credit cards get stolen?
When it comes to stealing your credit card information, scammers no longer need to get hold of the physical card. Yes, a lost or stolen credit card can still lead to unauthorized charges on your account, but you should also be aware of these digital ways scammers steal your payment data:
- Phishing emails: Thieves masquerade as legitimate companies such as your bank, cable provider, favorite retailers, etc. to try and get you to “confirm your identity” by clicking on a link or calling a phone number to provide personal and payment information.
- Spyware: This type of malicious software gets on your computer when you open an email attachment you weren’t expecting or visit a website from a link in a phishing message. Spyware allows hackers to steal all the data from your computer, including payment information.
- Unsecured WiFi: If you use public WiFi networks or don’t secure your home network with a password, hackers can potentially monitor your browsing activity and steal any logins or card information you use while on the open network.
- Data breaches: Unfortunately, this one is mostly out of your control. What you can do is avoid saving your payment information with the retailers you order online from. There are also identity protection services that will monitor data breaches for you and let you know if any of your information was found in a breach.
- Trash and recycling theft: It’s important to shred documents with sensitive information on them, such as monthly account statements. Otherwise, scammers could sort through your trash or recycling bins and steal these documents in order to steal your identity.
- Card skimmers: Beware when using non-bank ATMs and paying at the gas pump. If the card reader is loose or appears tampered with, avoid using that particular machine.
Read more about how to recognize and avoid phishing scams.
What steps should you take if your credit card has been stolen?
It’s a new month and your credit card statements are arriving in the mail. Unfortunately, there are some charges that you just can’t account for. After combing through your memory and checking with family members who may have used your credit cards, you realize that your card or card information was stolen. Here are the steps to take to secure your account and get a new card issued:
Contact your credit card issuer.
Make sure they are aware of the situation as soon as possible. Even if you are not certain that your card has been stolen, and may just be missing, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Once you’ve reported your card, you will not be held accountable for any purchases that occur on that card. They can then begin the process of shutting down your old card and issuing you a new one. If your FNBN credit card is lost or stolen, contact us immediately at these numbers.
Change your login information for your credit card account.
If you have an online account with your credit card company, it’s a good idea to change your login credentials right away in case they are compromised, too. If possible, set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) so that your account will be better protected in the future.
Monitor your statements and dispute any unauthorized charges.
After you’ve canceled your card, you should continue to monitor your statements over the coming weeks to ensure that no fraudulent charges appear. If they do, you will want to alert your credit card issuer about these immediately and flag them as fraudulent.
Update automatic payments.
Once you have a new card from your provider, you will need to go through the process of updating all of your auto payments, adding your card information to Apple Pay or Google Pay on your phone and computer, etc. This is especially important for accounts that are set up to pay automatically from your credit card.
Review your credit report.
This will be a long-term process over the course of the next few months as you keep an eye on your credit to ensure that it was not negatively impacted by the theft of your card. Take advantage of your free credit report from the three major credit monitoring services. You can also place a fraud alert on your credit reports so that lenders will contact you before approving a new credit application. Also monitor your credit score to make sure it doesn’t take a hit during this process.
How can I protect myself against credit card theft?
As you move on from the experience of having your credit card stolen, implement these measures to protect yourself from having it happen again.
- Look for the padlock icon and “https” at the beginning of a web address to make sure you’re on a secure website. Avoid unsecured websites altogether.
- Don’t share sensitive personal information over the phone. Remember that your bank and other reputable companies will never ask for your complete social security number, account number, credit card number, login credentials, and so on. If in doubt, call the company in question directly to see if there really is an issue with your account.
- Continue to monitor your monthly account statements for any sign of fraud or unauthorized purchases.
- Try to avoid situations where an employee takes your card out of your sight to ring up a retail purchase or pay the check at a restaurant.
The First wants to help protect you against identity theft and credit card fraud!
Your privacy and the security of your personal information is important to us. We believe that informing our customers is the best way to protect them against identity theft and electronic fraud. Learn more about our credit card options here and report a lost or stolen card here. The First also offers card management at your fingertips with our Card Guard mobile app. And check out our blog article on recovering from a temporary financial setback such as having your credit card stolen. We also have more information in our Security Center.