Protecting your credit cards is still important, even with the new chip technology. A card that has a magnetic stripe is still at risk. Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York recently shared our tips for keeping your information safe with WKBW-TV.
Thieves have multiple methods to steal your credit card information (known as skimming). One way is to install a fake credit card reader on top of an existing one. This fake reader collects the information from the magnetic stripe of your card. The most common targets are gas stations and ATMs. Some signs of a skimmer could be chipped paint or broken security tape. If it looks a little fishy, stay away from it!
“Radio Frequency Identification” technology, or RFID allows you to make swipeless payments with your credit cards. MasterCard’s “PayPass” and Chase bank’s “Blink” are two examples of these types of cards. Other cards are noted with a wireless symbol (four curved lines) on the back. Credit card skimmers can pick up the card’s information wirelessly from up to 100 meters away. You can protect your cards in this instance by using an RFID sleeve.
Better Business Bureau has other tips to protect your credit cards:
Monitor your statements for suspicious charges. Thieves usually test your card with small transactions that go unnoticed. Call your credit card company if you see these charges. The company may contact your first if the purchase doesn’t match your typical spending habits, whether in terms of the dollar amount or location.
Check your credit history every year. You are entitled to one free report per year at annualcreditreport.com.
Cut up old or expired cards and close all inactive accounts. An inactive account is attractive to a thief because you are less likely to notice any unusual activity.
Carry only the cards you need. Your information can’t be stolen if your card is at home.
Never carry your Social Security card with you.