Protect Yourself and Your Credit Card

It seems like every couple of months we are learning about a new business that has been a victim of a credit card data breach. These data breaches affect millions of consumers and can be quite the headache for everyone involved.


Here are five ways to keep yourself safe in case there is another credit card data breach in the future.


Review your spending history

One of the most important things that you can do as a consumer is to proactively monitor your accounts. Each month when your statements arrive go through them item by item. If you see anything that doesn’t look right then you should call your credit card company or bank immediately.


I suggest calling your credit card company to set up usage alerts on your credit card. Each time your credit card is used you will be notified. This would be helpful to those of you that rarely use credit cards. It might be a little much for anyone that uses a credit card regularly.

Stay away from credit monitoring services

Each time there is a retail data breach it is almost guaranteed that your inbox is going to be flooded with scammers trying to sign you up for credit monitoring services. The biggest red flag about with these offers is when they ask for your credit card information. If you want to sign up for credit monitoring then make sure you go through a reputable company like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame.


Choose credit when using your debit card

Each time you use your debit card you are prompted to enter a PIN number. From now on opt to use it as credit rather than debit. By doing this you will need to sign for all your purchases, but stores will not be able to store your PIN in their system.


Use mobile payments or cash

Apple recently announced Apple Pay, which will allow consumers to make a purchase at retail stores with the use of their smartphone. The nice thing about this technology is that your credit card number is not transferred to the store. Instead they use a unique device number that has been assigned to your phone.

If this new technology is still a little scary to you then you can always go the route of cash. It will always keep you safe from hackers.


Request a new card

If you find out that there has been a breach at a store that you frequently shop, then the first thing you need to do is get on the phone and request a new card. This means that the information the hacker might have received will be useless to them.


In Conclusion

Based on a recent report from the Homeland Security Department, more than 1,000 U.S retailers might have malicious software hiding in their cash registers. That means we might have only witnessed the beginning of our data breach problems. By using the following tips you can do your best to stay safe.


Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/