With Thanksgiving and Black Friday just a week away, it’s time to think about credit and debit card security. Take a few minutes to go over the tips below. Share them with Friends, Family, and co-workers. Remember that keeping your credit safe is a personal responsibility!
Tips for Protecting Your Credit and Debit Cards
Use an RFID protected wallet or sleeve
RFID stands for Radio-Frequency Identification. An RFID reader is in ATMs, Cash Registers and other devices that deal with credit and debit cards. There are also RFID readers that are used by thieves, who can steal your data by using the reader next to your card. Putting your cards in an RFID protected wallet or sleeve prevents your data from being read.
Only Make Online Purchases from Secure Websites
A secure website is one that has been verified. A secure website will have an SSL certificate attached to it proving that the owner of the website is a real company. A secure website will start with https, as opposed to http in the address bar. See below.
Double Check a Website’s Address Before Purchase
Make sure that you are making a purchase from the website you think it is. Thieves have methods of redirecting you to a decoy site. Look at the picture below. Notice the Address bar is NOT Google. See what the bad guys are doing here? They are gathering your personal information in disguise of a verification screen.
Never Make Purchases from a Public Wifi Spot or a Public Computer
Public wifi and public computers can never be as secure as your work or home wifi. Hackers can put themselves between you and the wifi source, intercepting your information. It’s ok to “window shop” from your favorite coffee shop, but don’t take that credit card out until you get home.
Report Lost or Stolen Cards Immediately
If you believe your card might have been lost or stolen, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Call your bank or credit card company immediately. They will be happy to replace the card for you. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Practice Good Password Procedures
You should always use secure passwords on all of your accounts, but accounts that use sensitive information, such as credit cards, social security numbers, or other private information should be using a hard-to-guess password. See our blog from a few weeks ago titled, “Let’s Talk About Those Passwords”.
Keep Your Debit Card Pin Number Safe
Your pin numbers shouldn’t be written down or obvious. When typing in your pin number at the store, try to put something between your hand that’s typing the pin and people who might be waiting in line behind you. Cover your hand with your other hand if you have to.
Check Your Transactions Often
Go through your statements or online register of transactions often. Check for any unusual activity and report it immediately if you do find something amiss. Even if you find a transaction for a very low amount. A thief might make a very small purchase in order to check if a card number that they’ve received through malicious means is good. They will then attack with much larger charges once they’ve validated the card.
Credit Cards are More Secure than Debit Cards
First of all, credit card companies provide more protections from fraudulent activities. They are better insured, therefore your card is safer. Also, debit cards are often tied to other accounts, such as savings accounts or even an overdraft protection account. Once a thief has your debit card information, they could have access to all other accounts associated with it. Finally, if there is a breach on your debit card, you could be left without access to your money for a week or two, especially if your bank doesn’t have a local branch. From a security standpoint, it’s safer to make purchases from your credit card.
Never Include Personal Information in Emails
This includes ALL personal information. Unless your email is encrypted, it is not recommended to send personal information through email. Instead, a phone call is best, if possible.
Have a fun and safe time shopping this year! Remember to exercise caution, and practice the safety pointers above.
About Harbor Computer Services
Harbor Computer Services is an IT firm servicing Southeastern Michigan. We work exclusively under contract with our clients to provide technology direction and either become the IT department or provide assistance to the internal IT they already have. We have won many awards for our work over the years, including the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year in 2010. We’re the smallest firm to have ever won this most prestigious award. Most recently we were recognized as one of the top 20 visionaries in small business IT by ChannelPro Magazine (2015). And in 2016 as the top Michigan IT firm for Manufacturing. There are a few simple things that make Harbor Computer Services the best choice for your business. •We are Professionals •We are Responsible •We are Concerned About The Success of Your Business