Credit cards are not only valuable to the account holder. They present value to those interested in stealing it. Some people in this world are not honest, and a few will violate the law to steal other people’s property. For example, sophisticated criminals might use devices such as a credit card skimmer while others take advantage of common mistakes people make.
Keep the Card Secure
Keeping credit cards securely stored inside a wallet or purse keeps them safe when shopping or commuting. For example, taking an inventory of cards inside a wallet lets the account holder know whether the card is there or not. If not, calling the credit card company and reporting the card lost or stolen might prevent unauthorized charges.
Keeping Cards Secure at Home
Those cards not carried on someone’s person should remain safely secured at home in a safe or locked desk. This way, they are not easily accessed by prying eyes and hands. Keeping cards secure in a hotel safe seems wise for travelers.
Reduce the Number of Cards
It may be worth asking about the necessity of having too many credit cards. Remember, the more cards someone has, the more chances there are that an account could become compromised. Such might be the case even when keeping all cards secure.
Maintain Secure Online Access
Accessing a credit card or bank account through a computer or mobile phone is commonplace. Such access relies on a username and password, and credit card holders should keep those items private. Anyone who learns someone’s username and password may breach the account. Maybe it is best to tell a device not to remember usernames and passwords to financial accounts.
Secure the Account Number and PIN
The risks of writing down the account and personal identification numbers (PIN) are significant. Anyone who does so may need to lock the information in a secure place. Sharing this information with anyone brings risks. Even when an honest and trustworthy person knows the PIN and account number, the individual might not keep the info safe and secure.
The Dangers of Card Skimmers
Even the most careful consumer may fall victim to a credit card skimmer. A skimmer is a device hidden in credit card readers designed to compromise account information. For example, someone could make a standard charge as a local store only to discover a skimmer compromised the info later. Account holders should be on the lookout for these devices. As SoFi suggests, “See if the card reader is sticking out at an angle or looks any different from other nearby card readers.”
Invest in an Identity Theft Service
Maybe subscribing to an identity theft protection service could help mitigate the fallout of a lost or stolen card. These services could keep track of financial accounts and alert subscribers when suspect charges occur. Credit card companies may provide alerts, as well. For example, warnings may occur when a transaction happens in an unusual geographic area or when the charge exceeds a particular amount. Of course, the account holder may need to act swiftly to deal with improper transactions.
Taking numerous steps to keep credit card accounts safe seems advisable. Otherwise, an account holder may have to deal with all the stress associated with unauthorized charges.