- Identity theft is when someone steals an individual’s personal information for their benefit, typical financial gain
- If you think your credit card details are stolen contact your card issuer immediately and have your account checked
- Make sure to regularly check your account for any unusual activities
- Protection against identity theft includes strong passwords and frequent credit reports
Credit cards are convenient. They can make it easier to pay for your bills and unexpected expenses. But credit cards are also a convenient way for identity thieves to steal money from you—and that’s why you should be careful about where you keep your credit card information. Credit card information can get stolen in various ways: through theft of a physical card, through data breaches, by card skimmers—the list goes on. Once someone has your credit card number and PINs, they can use those numbers to make purchases on your behalf without having to present their physical cards or verify their identity with the banks that issue them. They might even be able to use them multiple times before getting caught by fraud detection systems that flag unusual transactions as suspicious.
This article will tell us more details about what you can do if your credit card details are stolen and what you can do about it.
The Dark Web?
The Dark Web is a collection of websites based on shared code. It’s not accessible through normal web browsers, but it can be accessed through specialised software. If you’ve ever been a victim of a data breach, identity thieves can use your sensitive information to commit fraud. The Dark Web is an unregulated marketplace where criminals can buy and sell any type of personal information, including credit card numbers, social security numbers, and bank account information.
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is the crime of obtaining the personal or financial information of another individual to use their identity and commit fraud. It often happens when someone uses another person’s information without consent, such as their bank account or credit card information. Even if a thief can only access a small amount of information, they may be able to steal your identity if they can find out more about you from public sources such as social media accounts containing your date of birth, photos, and information about your family.
Types of Identity Theft Scams
- Phishing: Phishing is a cybercrime in which targets are contacted through email, telephone or text messages by someone posing as a legitimate institution to trick individuals into providing their identifiable information, bank details, credit card details, and passwords. The information will be used by phishers to access their accounts and can result in financial loss and identity theft.
- Data breaches: A data breach is an incident where information is copied, viewed, stolen, and used by an individual without the knowledge or authorisation of the system owner. Anyone can be at risk of a data breach – from individuals to companies and organisations. Data breaches often happen due to weak technology and user behaviour.
- Skimming: Skimming is another way for identity thieves to get credit card information from an individual. It can occur anytime an individual uses an electronic payment card. Identity thieves usually obtain information using a device called a skimmer. This device can read information stored in a card’s magnetic strip or microchip.
- Malware and spyware: Malware, or “malicious software” is software designed to damage or gain unauthorised access to a computer system. It usually includes viruses and spyware that can steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud. Criminals use websites and interesting links to trick people into clicking links that will download malware. Spyware is one type of malware that can monitor and control your computer use. It can be used to send pop-up ads and redirect computers to unwanted websites or monitor and record their internet browsing, to steal their identity
- Public Wi-Fi networks: Using public wi-fi connections can also leave you vulnerable to hacking and identity theft. Most often, hackers will monitor the information provided through an unsecured network. They will get between you and the websites you visit to obtain your account information. It is advisable not to view any sensitive web pages such as your bank account in public networks.
- Your trash: You might be careful in protecting your passwords and have internet privacy protection installed on your computers and phones, but we’re not always careful when we throw things away. Some identity thieves go through garbage bags to get personal information, including anything with signatures on it. To avoid this, make sure you shred any documents containing sensitive information before tossing them out.
Signs of Identity Theft
- Some unusual bills or charges appear on your bank statements
- You’re getting calls about products and services that you’ve never used
- There are strange emails in your inbox
- The mail you were expecting didn’t arrive.
Who pays for the fraud?
Ultimately it is you, the consumer. When you notify your bank or provider of fraudulent purchases on your credit card they will usually look into the transactions and refund your account. They take on the cost of the crime, but at a premium, paid by you through high bank and service fees. However, you may see this as a small price to pay for an added level of safety, considering the potential drastic financial issues cyber fraud can cause.
You may be helpless when it comes to preventing company hacks that may cause your credit card details to be stolen, but that doesn’t mean you need to make it easy for criminals. Change your online password frequently and monitor your accounts for suspicious activity and report it immediately to your provider. If your debit card or credit card has been compromised, you’ll want to cancel the card and freeze the account immediately.
If Your Identity Is Stolen
- Contact your credit card issuer: If you notice any suspicious activity in your credit card account, contact your credit card issuer immediately and ask them to freeze the account and investigate this issue. If you have the card with you, call the number on the card to speak with a representative.
- Update your passwords: It’s a good idea to keep changing your password regularly, especially after a data breach. You should change your passwords to something stronger, unique, and more secure. In addition, you should have multiple passwords, and not just one. Do not use the same password for all of your accounts.
- Review and dispute credit reports: After a hack or a data breach, you should pay attention to your account activity, especially the account that suffered the breach as well as your bank account and other financial accounts. Make sure to read your credit reports and watch for suspicious transactions.
- Close any unauthorised accounts: If an account is opened in your name, contact the financial institution behind the unauthorised account immediately and get more details. If it turns out that the financial institution has used your identity to commit fraud, ask them to close the account and remove it from your credit report. Also, ask to file an identity theft complaint with their fraud department as well.
- Report any loss or theft of documents: Report the matter to the police and ask for a police report or reference number so you have evidence that you reported the issue. Also, contact the organisation and agency that issued your identity document as well as your financial institution to tell them what happened.
How to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft
To avoid credit card fraud, here are some strategies and tips you should use to protect your account.
- Always cover your card when entering your PIN. If your credit card got lost, contact the bank immediately.
- Review your statements as regularly as you can. The sooner you notice any odd listings on your account, the immediately report them to your bank.
- If you see listings or applications you didn’t make, contact your card issuer and the credit reporting bureau immediately to investigate the issue and have it removed from your report.
- When going online, make sure that the website address at the beginning has “https://” instead of just “http://”. It means that the website has added security.
- Don’t click links or download attachments unless you are 100% sure that they are safe. Also, never provide any of your details over the phone or via text. Check the contact details to verify the sender.
- Always notify your bank if your details have changed, so any new cards or bank statements will not be sent to your old address
Having your credit card stolen is a pretty scary situation. But, as long as your accounts are still secure, there’s probably nothing to worry about. If you think something is wrong, you should immediately contact your credit card company to confirm everything is fine. The best way to protect yourself from credit card fraud is simply by being aware. Check your statements regularly and call your bank and the police if you notice any suspicious activity.