You may love the ease of convenience of paying with plastic, but identity thieves love it even more. After all, they are using someone else’s money and have no intention of worrying about the bills that will soon be rolling in. You don’t need to cut up all of your credit cards and start paying only with cash, but you do need to take steps to help protect yourself from credit card theft. One of those steps is to take steps to protect not only your credit cards, but consider using identity theft protection for a holistic approach.
One way to protect yourself from credit card theft is to examine readers before you insert your card. Gas pumps and ATMs can be altered using devices called skimmers to store your card information so that it can be used to make purchases or to create a counterfeit card. Companies are trying to fight this kind of theft. Have you noticed many gas pumps lately have security stickers fixed on the credit card units? They are easy to miss, but keep an eye out for them the next time you fill up your gas tank. They are there to help prevent the card reader from being tampered with. If you ever see one of these labels that has been broken or that reads “VOID,” do not use that gas pump.
Skimmers can also be handheld. While I am sure that most restaurant employees are honest, there have been many credit card theft cases of waiters collecting customers’ credit card information when they walk away with the cards. Consider using cash in restaurants.
Identity theft credit card can also happen online. Only give your payment information when you are on a reputable website and a secure connection. Never shop (or log into any personal accounts) when you are using free public wi-fi. Criminals can use these connections to steal information that you send and receive. If you are unsure about a site, do some research before you enter any payment information. Often, retail sites will ask you to create an account and save your payment information. Make sure that you choose a secure password because it is likely that all anyone will need to do in the future is log in if they want to make additional purchases.