Keep Your Credit Card Safe With These 8 Essential Tips
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Keep Your Credit Card Safe With These 8 Essential Tips

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Credit card fraud – like everything else in life – changes with the times. Even as we introduce new methods to combat fraud, there are those who will find ways to get around them. So, how afraid should you be?

According to a recent report released by the Australian Payments Network (1), total fraud reached $574 million in 2018. When calculated as a total percentage of all transactions ($788 billion), that comes to less than 0.1%.

Phew, time to relax then. Perhaps not. What if you happen to make up that 0.1%? While that teeny-tiny figure may look insubstantial, it’s unlikely to seem insubstantial when it’s your money that’s mysteriously gone missing.

Luckily, there are ways to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of credit card fraud. While credit card providers are fighting the good fight to make our cards safer, you can do your bit by following these credit card security tips.

Keep your details private

Both your card details and your PIN should be kept private. Don’t let anyone see your card when you’re out in public, don’t give your card number out over the phone, and for god’s sake, don’t post a photo of your card on social media.

When it comes to bank statements and anything else that has your personal or financial details on it, make sure to shred them before throwing them out. While we’re on the subject of mail, put a lock on your mailbox to avoid anyone stealing anything out of it.

Be wary at the ATM

Always pay attention when using an ATM. Look out for anyone hanging around nearby, and check the ATM itself for any signs of skimmers, cameras or anything else that shouldn’t be there. Shield your PIN and don’t accept help from anyone. If in doubt, move onto the next ATM, go into a branch, or use the cash-out facilities next time you’re at the checkout.

Don’t lose sight of your card

While it’s nice to be nice, it’s not smart to trust everybody. Would you give someone a pile of your cash to walk away with? Because that’s exactly what you’re doing when you hand over your card. Always know where your card is – don’t hand it over to keep behind the bar, and don’t let anyone take it away to process a transaction.

Protect your digital self

Getting hacked is just plain inconvenient. So, what can you do to protect yourself? Always keep the antivirus and security software on your computers and mobile devices updated, and avoid downloading programs or files from unknown places. It’s also a good idea to avoid public computers and open Wi-Fi networks, as these can be easily hacked.

Be cautious when buying online

Shopping online can provide access to a whole world of new and exciting things. But, if you shop in the wrong place, it could give thieves all they need to steal your personal details. Before you pay, check for ‘https’ in the merchant’s web address, look closely to see if anything looks fishy, and consider only shopping at retailers that you know and trust.

If you’re thinking about saving your credit card number on a retailer’s website, just don’t. While it may make checkout super easy, it also makes your details super easy to steal if that retailer is hacked.

Watch out for phishing scams

Think you’re too smart to fall for a phishing scam? Thieves are getting pretty smart too these days. Just remember, no legitimate business, charity or organisation will ever phone you, text you or email asking you to provide or ‘update’ your personal or financial details.

If you’re unsure, search for the organisation’s contact details independently – don’t use the details they provide you or click on any links – and contact them directly to ask if there is a problem.

Keep a close eye on your account

Tedious, yes. Essential, also yes. Take time to review your account by checking your transactions and following up on any you don’t recognise. Most banks and card providers make this easy using their app or online banking. If it turns out to be fraud, your provider will launch an investigation.

It’s also a good idea to check your credit history regularly. If someone has stolen your details to apply for credit cards in your name, your credit file might be the first you see of it.

Let tech do its job

In the war against credit card fraud, tech is continually being improved to make credit card use safer. Why? First up, tech is smarter that your average human, so it tends to be better at sniffing out fraud as – or before – it happens.

Secondly, tech can be used to bypass humans and their unreliable behaviour. While a human in a call centre has to be trusted to keep things on the up-and-up, a chatbot, for example, does not. Chatbots can provide an awesome alternative in the retail and financial sphere, taking humans right out of the equation, to process card details for payments safely and efficiently.

1. https://www.auspaynet.com.au/sites/default/files/2019-08/AustralianPaymentCardFraud2019_0.pdf

Founder - Roland B Bleyer

Roland Bleyer

Founder of Creditcard.com.au. Roland has extensive knowledge about credit cards in Australia. Known as a credit card expert, he has been featured on tv and in various publications. Some popular offers on our site right now include the St.George Vertigo. Ever popular with a low annual fee, purchase rate and 0% balance transfer. For those wanting to earn Qantas points. Have a look at the HSBC Platinum Qantas with strong points earning, low rewards annual fee plus both domestic and overseas travel insurance.
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