Saturday, January 12, 2013

How to Use a Credit Card Safely

According to the law enforcement agency Europol, data breaches have made the US the main source of credit card fraud in the EU. In fact, they believe that 60% of the losses from credit card fraud result from 'card-not-present' transactions, transactions which involve the use of stolen data from the Internet.

Less prone to credit card fraud is the UAE, which ranks below the US in terms of susceptibility to credit card crimes. Even so, 45% of UAE credit card holders don’t use their card online, despite this being safer than offline use at hotels and restaurants. In such places, credit cards can be copied or the details stolen before the card is returned to the owner.

However, if you take certain measures and pay attention to detail, whether you’re in the US or in the UAE you can avoid falling foul of online fraudsters.

Online Precautions
  • Never supply your PIN number online. You only need this at cashpoints and, if you’re making the payment through a chip-and-pin system, at points of sale.
  • Don't provide sites with your online banking password. They don’t need it.
  • Avoid buying things online in Internet cafes and other places with public Wi-Fi access. You can easily stay logged without realizing it, exposing your data to others.
  • Be suspicious if you return to an online shopping website site and it doesn't ask you for your CVV2 number. Once a transaction is complete, the site isn't allowed to store it.
  • Some websites take part in the ‘3D Secure’ transaction verification system. Despite the name, the system lacks a lot of the cues that indicate a window is safe. Often, the window comes from a strange overseas address that has no clear connection to the trader, the bank or the card provider. Be wary of this.

Offline Precautions
  • Hang up on anyone who calls claiming to be the bank; tells you to replace your card; suggests you phone back the ‘bank’ and then prompts you to key your PIN number into the phone. Genuine banks will never do this.
  • Shield your PIN number at ATMs, take your withdrawal slips with you, and, if later you don’t need it, shred it instead of scrunching it up and throwing it in the bin.
  • If you pay by credit card at a hotel or restaurant, don’t let them take your credit out of your sight. They may steal the details or copy the card.
  • Extremely devious fraudsters change the address the credit card is registered to. Notify your bank if you suddenly stop receiving bank statements in the post.

Protecting yourself against credit card fraud is a matter of being careful and observant. Be wary of sudden instructions to disclose delicate information, like your PIN number or online banking password, and of where you use your card. If anything on a website seems suspicious, don’t go ahead with the transaction until you can confirm the site is genuine. Not going ahead with the purchase is the best protection there is!

2 comments:

  1. Agree with most of the precautions. Find it difficult to not let the server take my card to charge it, since that is the norm in most restaurants that we frequent.

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