Just a few months ago, several agencies reported that credit card fraud was on the rise despite the security measures credit card companies had employed. This fraud is extremely bad news for consumers. When a person is the victim of credit card fraud, their credit balances continue to skyrocket as the fraudster uses their card. This puts the consumer deeper and deeper into debt and, sometimes, they don’t even find out about it until weeks after their information has been stolen.
So, how can you protect yourself and your information from fraudulent activity? Understand the simple safety measures included right on your card, and know how and when to use them.
Embedded Chip Technology and Credit Card Fraud
A few years ago, credit card companies started offering embedded chip technology on their cards. This technology made cards more secure, so consumers could feel safer when using them.
Hackers used to simply swipe the magnetic strip of a card, which provided them all the information they needed to commit credit card fraud. These scams were known as skimming scams. They still happen sometimes today but EMV technology does make it more difficult.
EMV stands for EuroPay, Mastercard, and Visa. The technology embeds a chip into a credit card. Each time the chip is used to make a purchase, a unique one-time code is created. This code is often the only thing hackers have access to and to them, it’s useless. Due to the fact that the code has already been used, it will not allow them to make a purchase.
The technology sounds good and seems to better protect customers than the magnetic stripe. It doesn’t seem to be working, though. Both the National Retail Foundation and Gemini Advisory both released reports late last year showing that despite the use of EMV, credit card fraud is still on the rise. Something that is potentially even more worrisome is that the majority of fraud involves credit cards enabled with EMV technology, the very thing meant to protect consumers.
So, since the technology doesn’t seem to be working, how can consumers protect themselves?
Protecting Yourself from Fraud in Brick-and-Mortar Stores
The best way to protect yourself against fraud while visiting a brick-and-mortar store is to ask the merchant if they have EMV technology turned on. Not all do. If they do, your purchase is fairly safe and you can use your credit card as you normally would. If they don’t, it’s still best to use your credit card over your debit card.
This is due to the fact that debit cards are tied directly to a consumer’s bank account. If hackers get ahold of that information, they can easily deplete savings the owner of the bank account was counting on using in the near future. Credit cards, on the other hand, are tied to balances with the credit card company. If someone tries to drain these accounts, the owner of the card can contact the company and have any activity immediately stopped.
In addition, credit card companies are often more willing to look into cases of fraud than banks are. This means there’s a greater possibility to get your money back when someone steals it from your credit card.
Of course, using cash is always the best way to protect yourself from credit card fraud. This is particularly true when visiting an actual store where this is practical, unlike when shopping online.
How to Protect Yourself from Fraud When Shopping Online
Shopping online has become one of the main ways consumers shop. This trend took off at around the same credit card companies started utilizing EMV technology.
Unfortunately, this technology is rendered useless online. The chip is not used, so the code is not created and the consumer is left unprotected. All hackers need is the information from the card, including its number, its security code, and the expiration date, along with the name of the cardholder. For hackers, this information is too often very easy to get.
The main way hackers get this information is by hacking passwords of accounts that contain the information. The easier the password, the easier it is for hackers to get your information. They look for passwords such as “1234” or “password” and once they find an account that matches, they’re in. They can start spending your money, plunging you further into debt.
The best way to combat this is to create different passwords for your accounts and to make sure that passwords are fairly complicated. A combination of numbers, letters, and symbols is recommended and, generally speaking, the longer the password is, the more effective it is.
Many people fail to do this because they know they’ll never remember 10 or more complicated passwords. Fortunately, some operating systems today, such as iOS, will actually create and store passwords for you. There are also many password apps that will store all of your passwords for you.
Other ways to keep safe while shopping online are to ensure you are only entering information onto trusted and secure websites. Also, make sure that the security settings on your computer are always updated with the latest settings when shopping online.
Of course, when browsing online, it’s important to keep in mind the same safety tips you use when shopping offline. This means using credit cards instead of your debit card to make purchases, just in case someone is able to access your information.
Contact a Florida Debt Defense Lawyer if You’ve Been a Victim of Fraud
Sometimes, a consumer will do everything they can to protect themselves while shopping and using credit cards. Unfortunately, those measures aren’t always enough and they’re still victims of fraud. The situation seems hopeless, but a Fort Lauderdale debt defense lawyer can help.
If you’ve been a victim of fraud and now face serious penalties for debt you didn’t incur, call the Loan Lawyers at (954) 523-HELP (4357). We know how to defend customers who have been victims of fraud and are now being harassed by creditors for debt that isn’t theirs. We’ll help you take all the proper steps to stop the actions of the debt collector until the dispute is resolved, and provide the best possible defense if they still decide to file a lawsuit. Call us today or fill out our online form for your free consultation to learn more about we can help.
Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers with their debt problems, we have saved over 2,000 homes from foreclosure, eliminated more than $100,000,000 in mortgage principal and consumer debt, and have recovered over $10,000,000 on behalf of our clients due to bank, loan servicer, and debt collector violations. Contact us for a free consultation and find out more about our money back guarantee on credit card debt buyer lawsuits, and how we may be able to help you.