Jun 7, 2016

How to Outwit the Credit Card Fraudsters

If you conduct a lot of business online, you're probably giving your credit cards a good workout. And why not? You get airline miles, bonus points and discounts. But keep in mind that credit card fraudsters stay a step ahead of the game. Here's how you can outwit the scammers.

Review your credit card statements

As more people open online shopping accounts, fraudsters are targeting the accounts, not actual credit cards, to run up charges. So if you shop online regularly, be smart and review your statement each week. Do this online; in fact, cancel those paper statements. Be especially alert for small charges for about a dollar — scammers test a stolen card with small charges.

Keep in mind that scammers don't need your credit card number to use it. Online stores that hold your credit card information may be vulnerable to break-ins. You might discover a breach by reviewing your statement even before a site's owners do.

Follow security industry reports

The security industry pays a lot of attention to scam developments and is eager to enlighten the public. Follow a consumer-oriented service like LifeLock, which posts useful information on social forums like Facebook. There, you can read about data chips, fraud alerts and security tips on your phone during a lunch or coffee break.

Look for news from major industry players and think tanks like Forrester Research, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and Kaspersky Lab's blog.

Shop at sites that require two-factor authentication

Limit your shopping to sites that require two-factor authentication (2FA) to open an account.
The 2FA method of security asks for more than a PIN or password to log on. It asks several additional security questions and records the answer. They rotate questions with each logon. For example, you may be asked to provide your father's hometown or the model of your first car — information that isn't readily available for crooks to discover.

If you shop via mobile, Kaspersky recommends using only official apps. Make sure they are upgraded to the latest version, and install strong mobile antivirus software on your phone and tablet.

Shop only via secure Internet connection

Mobile web is so tempting. It lets you make purchases anywhere through your smartphone.
Before you do this, make sure your phone isn't on an open Internet connection. If you're asked for a password before you can even connect to the Internet, be very grateful. This means no one can casually steal your information. It's even better if the shop providing the free connection changes its password every day.

Still, nothing is better than shopping through your own password-protected network.

Change your passwords frequently

Finally, change your passwords frequently everywhere one is demanded.

It's tough to keep up with new passwords, so use a password manager that creates new ones for you. Use the manger to access the sites, rather than typing in a password someone can steal. Password managers will also prompt you to change credentials and prevent you from using duplicate passwords on different sites.

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