How To Protect Yourself Against Credit Card Fraud in Canada?

One of the biggest nightmares is finding out that your credit card number has been stolen. You could end up with fraudulent charges that will require lots of time on the phone with your credit card company to straighten out.

Thats why it is important to protect yourself from all types of credit card fraud. Here is a look at the various ways that your credit card can be stolen, how to protect yourself and what to do if you find out that you have been a victim.

Ways Your Credit Card Information May Be Stolen

There are five major ways that your credit card information can be stolen. Here’s a look at some of the top ways bad guys can get a hold of your credit card information:

1) Phishing emails

A phishing email is an email where an email will pretend to be from a legitimate company.

This company may have a link that will prompt you to enter your credit card information. For instance, you may get a letter from a major company like eBay or Amazon saying that your order is on hold due to a declined credit card. The link will send you to an impersonated webpage, prompting you to enter your credit card information.

Be sure to check the website’s web address to ensure that it is from a legitimate company.

2) Public Wi-Fi

You may use public wi-fi at a restaurant or a hotel.

However, you should avoid using these public wi-fi connections to enter your credit card information. That is because some people can use special “snooping” software to gather your credit card information and steal it.

3) Data breach

Every once in a while, a large company will have its information stolen. That information may include your credit card information.

If you receive a notice from a company that your information may have been compromised in a data breach, immediately check your credit card for any fraudulent charges.

4) Spyware and malware

A criminal may infect your computer with something known as malware or spyware. With these pieces of software, a criminal can record your keystrokes and be able to gather your credit card information. Spyware or malware is usually delivered to your computer by opening emails sent by the criminal.

Never open an email from someone whom you do not know.

5) Dumpster diving

Some criminals will resort to dumpster diving to grab credit card statements or other information that may have your credit card information.

Be sure to rip up any papers that have any of your financial information. If you want to be even safer with your information, run your financial paperwork through a shredder before discarding it.

How to protect yourself from credit card fraud

We discussed the many ways that criminals can get your credit card information. Now, here are 10 simple steps that you can take to avoid becoming a victim of credit card fraud:

1) Avoid answering suspicious emails

Avoid answering emails with salacious headlines or promises of money or contest winnings. Also, avoid opening emails that appear from addresses that you are unfamiliar with.

Mark these emails as spam so the sender will not be able to deliver another email.

2) Avoid entering credit cards on public wi-fi networks

Instead of entering your credit card on a public wi-fi network, wait until you get home.

You can also call the company to tell them your credit card information.

3) Rip up your credit card statements and ATM receipts

Be sure to destroy any information that would have your credit card information on it. This information can include the following:

  • Credit card statements
  • ATM receipts
  • Sales receipts
  • Financial budgeting information

4) Never enter your credit card through an unsecured website

Ensure that a website has an HTTPS address and a security certificate before entering your credit card information.

Also, never visit a website if your browser warns you that the site is not safe.

5) Never sign a blank receipt

If someone asks you to sign a receipt for a purchase, make sure you can clearly read the amount. Never sign a blank receipt. Someone can place any amount on the receipt, and it could end up looking legitimate.

6) Never give your credit card number over the phone to someone who you don’t know

Avoid handing over your credit card information to someone unfamiliar to you. The only things a person needs to make a purchase are:

  • your name
  • your credit card number
  • the card’s expiration date
  • the three digital codes on the back of the credit card

7) Check your credit card transactions often

Be sure to check your credit card transactions often to make sure that no one is making any fraudulent purchases.

You can check recent transactions on your online account or call the customer service number on the back of the card.

8) Never write your credit card number on a piece of paper or online

Avoid writing your credit card on any piece of people. Also, avoid writing your number on an online document where it can be seen and stolen.

9) Keep your credit cards in a secure place

Be sure to keep your credit cards in a secure place.

If you are at a hotel, you can place the cards in the room’s safe or ask the front desk for their safety deposit box.

10) Don’t use an ATM or gas station pump that appears unsafe

Be sure to avoid inserting your credit card in an ATM or gas station credit card slot that appears to have been tampered with.

What to do if you are a victim of credit card fraud

If you have been a victim of credit card fraud, you can follow these three steps to get the charges potentially removed from your card.

1) Report any questionable charges to your credit card issuer

Call the customer service number on the back of your card and report any questionable charges. Most credit card companies should be able to cancel those transactions if you report them within 30 or 60 days of the purchase.

2) Cancel your credit card

If your card has been lost or stolen, call the credit card company and cancel the card. The credit card company should be able to send you a new card, with a new number, in a couple of days.

3) File a police report

You may have to file a police report. Be sure to file the police report in the jurisdiction where the credit card was stolen.

Staying safe from credit card fraud

You don’t have to be a victim of credit card fraud. Be sure to protect your credit card and credit information, check your statement regularly and immediately report any suspicious charges.

With the right vigilance, your credit card information can remain safe.

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Jean-Maximilien Voisine
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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