Just when you think you’ve done all the right things to protect your credit or debit card from fraud, it happens.
BAM! Another report about a major business getting hacked and private payment information – possibly yours – being stolen.
Are your accounts in danger? Maybe.
Is there anything you can do? Yes, there is.
Here are some important steps you can take to protect yourself:
CHECK YOUR STATEMENTS OFTEN: Look for any charges – big or small – that you don’t recognize. Some thieves try to make major purchases, while others will make small ones that are likely to blend in with your normal purchases.
Call your financial institution or credit card company immediately if you notice anything suspicious.
With the ability to access your statements online at any time of the day or night, you should be monitoring your accounts frequently.
The sooner you spot a problem, the quicker it can be dealt with – and the less hassle it will cause you.
Take some time now to read the fine print that is part of your card agreement because credit and debit cards have different requirements and responsibilities in instances of fraudulent purchases.
MAKE A CALL: If you have shopped or made payments to a company that has been hacked, call your credit card company, financial institution, or the company itself and tell them that. You’ll find the toll-free number to call on the back of your card.
It’s even quite possible that they offer a free credit-monitoring service that will watch your account for suspicious activity.
GET A NEW CARD: If you are concerned about the safety of your account, request a new credit or debit card from the issuer or ask that your PIN number be changed.
Once that change has been made, be sure to update any automatic payments you have set up with your new information so those transactions won’t be disrupted.
SET UP ALERTS: Many financial institutions and credit card companies allow you to set up email or text message alerts that notify you if purchases exceed a certain amount, if they are made on the Internet or internationally, or if your balance reaches a certain level.
These alerts can be early warnings that something isn’t right.
BE AWARE: While it’s always important to check your account statements for irregularities, it is especially important to be alert after major hacking incidents. And don’t let your guard down if your account isn’t affected right away – thieves could either try to use your information immediately, or wait for months before doing something when it’s not expected.