Steps to Protect Credit Card Data and Prevent Identity Theft After the Equifax Data Breach
In light of the recent Equifax data breach in September 2017, more people are concerned about identity theft. Identity theft can have enormous repercussions for anyone who has their identity stolen. However, before you learn how to protect credit card data, you have to understand how fraud can happen. We’ll talk about several ways thieves could steal your identity and how to dispute fraudulent charges. Finally, we’ll discuss steps you can take to protect credit card data. It’s the digital age, and you can never be too careful.
What is Credit Card Fraud?
Credit card fraud has been around for years, but people are gaining awareness. It may also be known as identity theft, and it happens every day. A person claims to be you and opens credit cards in your name. They can also use your debit card or prepaid card without your knowledge, or access your bank account. Finally, they may create recurring charges in your name to get money or material things.
Ways Thieves Get Your Information
You use your credit card almost every day in a variety of transactions. Each of these transactions has the potential to result in credit card fraud. However, you can’t protect yourself if you don’t know how it happens, and we’ll help you understand it.
Protect Credit Card Data From Phishing
Phishing has been around for years, and chances are you’ve seen it. Phishing involves sending a random email, and once the recipient opens it, Malware loads onto their computer. The Malware captures the user’s relevant data like a social security number and credit card information. The thief uses this data to make fraudulent purchases.
Fraudulent Wait Staff
Unfortunately, some wait staff at restaurants may not have your best interests in mind. Once you’ve given them your card to pay for your meal, they can copy the data down. This only takes a few seconds, and they’ll have all the data they need to charge purchases to the card.
Prevent Identity Theft From Skimmers
Skimmers are a popular way to steal credit card information. A thief may attach the skimmer over the credit card slot on an ATM or a gas pump. Once you’ve run your card through to pay for your gas or take money out of the ATM, it’ll skim your information. If they attach a camera to the skimmer, they can get your card’s PIN number at the same time.
Breach in a Card Processor
Your card processing company is the entity that handles each transaction between your card’s bank and the merchant’s banks. A thief can infect the card processor’s system with software that skims for credit card data. If the card processor’s system suffers a breach, millions of cards could be negatively affected.
Equifax Data Breach What Happened and When
The Equifax data breach was due to an Apache Struts vulnerability. Criminals exploited a vulnerability to gain access to files. According to Equifax, those files included the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, of approximately 143 million consumers. The company said that the Equifax data breach had occurred from May 13, 2017, through July 30, 2017. The Equifax data breach was publicly announced September 7, 2017. Learn more about the Equifax cybersecurity incident directly from Equifax.
Guide to Protect Credit Card Data
Now you know a few popular ways identity theft and credit card fraud happens. We’ll talk about ways to protect credit card data. The more careful you are, the more reduced your chances are of suffering credit card fraud.
Inspect Each Email Your Recieve
To help you avoid a phishing scam, carefully inspect all of your emails. You’re looking for things like typos, odd phrases, and odd email addresses. If it claims it’s from a financial institution, don’t open it and call to confirm it. Typically they don’t send emails out asking for information.
Sign Up For Text Alerts
If you eat in restaurants a lot, and wait staff regularly handles your credit card, sign up for text alerts. These text alerts are a great tool to protect credit card data. They usually send a text out within minutes of any purchases. This can help you catch fraud right when it happens and reduce the damage.
Inspect any Unmanned Card Readers
To protect credit card data from skimming, inspect any unmanned card readers. Compare the one you’re going to use to the other ones around it. You can also jiggle the reader and pin pad to see if anything comes loose. If it looks suspicious, don’t use it and report it inside. Also, when using an ATM, shield the pin pad so no possible cameras can see it.
Since the Equifax Data Breach Double Check all of Your Purchases
Because of the Equifax data breach, double check your card activity. It may also be a good idea to check with your bank. They may advise you to close out your credit card and have a new one issued. Most credit card fraud starts small and evolves into bigger purchases.
Dispute Fraudulent Charges
If you notice fraudulent charges on your credit history, dispute them with the company. Many people don’t find out about credit card fraud until it negatively impacts their credit scores. This makes it harder to track and prove. By monitoring your credit history and your credit card statements, you can catch it earlier.
Upgrade to an EMV Chip Card
If your bank offers a debit card with EMV chip technology, upgrade to it. Many credit card retailers are also implementing this technology and issuing EMV chip cards. Also, it will help protect credit card data by making it almost impossible for skimmers to get your information. The chip stores your data under a layer of encryption, and this is more difficult to breach.
Since the Equifax data breach, it is more important than ever to protect credit card data. Not only will it reduce your risk of identity theft, but it’ll also reduce your risk of credit card fraud. This will ensure you won’t have to fight to have your identity restored. This process can take years to resolve, and prevention is better than attempting to clean up after a breach. Follow these steps, and be secure in the knowledge that you’re taking steps to protect credit card data.