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Growth Of Credit Card Fraud — Am I At Risk?

As credit card fraud continues to grow, are you at risk?

Yes, unfortunately.  

We are all at risk. However, that risk isn't spread evenly throughout the payment industry.  

In traditional brick-and-mortar environments, for example, it is getting harder for thieves to steal financial data as EMVs become more widespread in the U.S. This is because each EMV credit card comes with an embedded security chip that must be physically present, in combination with a PIN number or signature, in order to authorize POS transactions.

In fact, EMVs are so effective at preventing in-store retail fraud that many criminals have shifted their focus to card-not-present transactions initiated via phone and Internet. When shopping online, EMV security features don’t matter, since one only needs the card number, billing address and CVV code to complete a transaction. As a result, experts predict by 2018, online credit card fraud will reach $6.4 billion nearly double what it was in 2014.

What steps can you take to protect yourself?

Below are some common-sense best practices every consumer should follow to keep financial data safe from prying eyes.

1. Only Shop with Reputable Merchants

Limit your shopping to vendors that you already know and trust. This is especially important in the online world where anyone can set up an e-commerce store overnight.  

You can use sites like Scam Adviser to review merchants’ trust scores.

2. HTTP + S Is Essential

Most websites begin with the standard prefix "http.” However, when sending credit card data over the Internet, only use checkout carts that have the more secure prefix “https.” The extra "s" indicates that this vendor is using a verified security certificate.

3. Invest in Browser Security

Almost every major browser comes with a number of native security features like cookie verification, phishing protection and cache cleaning. Sometimes, these options are automatically turned on by default. Other times, you will need to manually enable these settings.  

4. Only Use Trusted Computers

The browser security features mentioned above are relatively easy to control on office or home computers. Yet you can't always rely on these extra settings when shopping on public terminals. Whenever possible, avoid entering any credit card data on unsecured computers at airports, coffee shops and Internet cafés.

5. Check Your Statements Religiously

Some thieves will completely wipe out an account once they get a hold of that user's information. Though truly savvy criminals prefer making minor deductions here and there, since smaller transactions are much harder to detect. If you don’t check your credit card statements on a regular basis, you could be hemorrhaging money every month without even knowing it.

6. Avoid Online Debit Cards

When shopping online, debit and credit cards offer roughly the same security protection; but when fraudulent activity does occur, your bank won't necessarily cover your losses.  

Credit card companies, by contrast, typically provide a lot more consumer liability protection. Whenever you have a choice, only use your credit card to make online purchases. Leave the debit card for ATMs and in-store POS terminals.  

Want More Tips for Protecting Yourself?

For a more comprehensive collection of credit card fraud prevention tips, contact BluePay's payment security team today.

Topics: PCI Compliance and Fraud Prevention

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