Financial Education Blog

Important credit card safety tips to protect your personal information

It’s important to be proactive and keep your credit card information safe year-round to avoid identity theft.  While safeguarding your credit cards often comes down to common sense, fraudsters are always on the hunt for passwords and PINs. If fraudsters are successful in gaining your personal information, it can prove to be quite costly as consumers could suffer permanent or temporary financial loss.

 

We’ve gathered a list of tips to help consumers safeguard their credit card information and shop with confidence.

 

Practice credit card protection from the start

As soon as you get a new card, be sure to sign the back. This protects you if your card is lost or stolen. Also, be sure to turn on suspicious activity alerts and choose a strong password that is unique to each account. If your account requires a Personal Identification Number (PIN), don’t choose a combination that is personal to you, like your birthday or digits from your Social Security number.

 

Keep your account number private

Don’t let anyone see your card while you’re out in public. Be selective when giving your account information out over the phone; only offer it when you initiated the call and you’re speaking with a representative that you trust. Note: 7 17 Credit Union and other financial institutions will not call, text or email you asking for your account information.

 

Always be suspicions when you receive a communication (email, text, social media message) asking you for personal information or to click a suspicious link.

 

Consider receiving paperless statements and making your payments online to remove your sensitive information from the postal system. It’s also a good idea to shred documents with sensitive personal information rather than simply throwing them in trash.

 

Keep your information current

Keeping your personal information up-to-date allows your financial institution to easily and quickly contact you in the event of fraud or suspicious activity. Be sure to notify your financial institution if your move or get a new number or email.

 

Secure your devices and network

If you allow your browser to store your credit card information, you could be vulnerable. To prevent this, consider turning off the autofill function in each browser that you use.

 

Also consider using a digital wallet. Digital wallets are payment systems housed on your smartphone that make it possible to conduct electronic transactions using your credit cards easily and securely. Because digital wallets use encryption, tokenization and authentication, they are safer than carrying your credit cards. If you do use a digital wallet, be sure your smartphone is password and fingerprint protected, and that you download an app to make it easier to find your phone in case you lose it.

 

Protect yourself online

It’s important to always practice basic online and mobile safety. When shopping online, be sure to look for sites with ‘https’ in the web address (the s stands for secure), and the green lock icon. Also, don’t allow for your credit card information to be stored on an online shopping site, and don’t shop or conduct financial transactions using public Wi-Fi.

 

Check your account often and report fraud right away

Reviewing your recent account activity is fundamental to credit card safety. Most issuers let you set up email or text alerts. If you lose your credit card or suspect fraudulent activity, contact your financial institution or issuer right away. They can block your card and account number preventing additional fraud and issue you a new card.