How to Thwart Credit Card Hackers
Holiday shopping season is here, and it isn’t just the stores that want your money. Cyber-thieves are also looking to make a quick score by stealing your account information.
The consumer protection team at USA.gov says that Americans are now more concerned about credit card hacking than terrorism, assault, or burglary. This is because cyber-thieves can cost more than just money; they can steal your very identity.
That’s why USA.gov, in its Consumer Action Handbook, is offering the following advice for holiday shoppers:
- DO: Use a credit card, not a debit card. Although many people use them interchangeably, debit cards do not have the same protections against fraud, hacking, and theft as credit cards.
- DON’T: Shop Online without a Secure Internet Connection. Using free public wi-fi at airports, bookstores, and coffee shops is easy, but it’s not safe for monetary transactions. You can’t be sure the connection is secure, and you don’t know who has access to it.
- DO: Keep an Eye on Account Statements. Check your statements regularly, especially during the holiday season, to be sure that all charges are yours. If you spot any fraudulent charges, report them to your credit card company immediately.
We’ll double down on the advice to stay away from public wi-fi. These connections are notoriously insecure, and are often hacked into by fraudsters to steal account details, login information and other valuable data.
Sometimes it’s wise to trade the convenience of “anytime, anywhere” shopping for greater security, and to do your buying when you know you have a secure connection to the Internet. Above all, be careful out there this season. Don’t give any gifts to the criminal element if you can avoid it.
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