Avoid Credit Card Identity Theft

The riskiest places to use a credit card include those locations that increase financial risk and risk of identify theft. Places where credit card risk are highest are more likely to lead to the loss of money either through careless spending or circumstances that can facilitate theft of credit card data. Several of the riskiest places to make purchases with a credit card make sense, but other times, a credit card user may think using a credit card is not risky when this is not the case.

• Gambling institutions

According to The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Resources (NDHHS), gambling in that state amounted to over $28,000 in gambling debt per gambler on average. This and other disturbing gambling statistics from The Center for Counseling & Health Resources, Inc. lend credence to the notion gambling can affect rational decision making and therefore cause one to use credit to gamble. Moreover, gambling is an inherently risky endeavor by default because house odds are consistently below 50 percent for gamblers in most if not all casino games.

• Non-secure websites

Non-secure websites do not have an ‘s’ at the end of their hypertext transfer protocol or http can also be risky places to use credit cards. This is because secure websites use high levels of encryption to protect consumer data. Many shopping and online banking websites use secure http for credit card transactions to protect their clients from credit card theft. When data transfer is not encrypted, the possibility of it being intercepted and read is thought to be higher. Non-secure websites can also include those with just a telephone number and no physical address per the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

• Incoming phone calls and email

Providing credit card information over the phone and email can be very risky especially if the call or email is incoming according to Internet ScamBusters. This is because not knowing or being able to verify the caller regardless of what is said or what shows up on a caller id can be thought of as a red flag. Additionally, many organizations openly state they do not practice a policy of asking for credit card information over the phone.

• Vacations

Hotels and international Automatic Teller Machines among other places are high risk because according to the New York Times, hotels accounted for the greatest percentage of credit card ‘hacking’ cases in 2009. ‘Skimming’, a practice that uses wireless and video devices to record credit card data is also a threat to unsuspecting vacationers in economic environments that might not be so secure. Scam Laws claims skimming accounts for more than $8.5 billion per year in losses pointing to its pervasiveness, and numerous reports of international skimming operations have been made evident in recent years.

• Gas pumps

According to Consumer Fraud Reporting, credit card fraud was the among the top three reported types of fraud in 2008. Moreover, skimming that takes place on vacations can also occur anywhere else credit scanners are not secure from identify theft. Gas pumps happen to be one of those vulnerable locations per CreditCards.com. Purchasing gas or other products directly with a retailer or paying in cash can help reduce the risk of wireless and video credit card skimming fraud.