How to protect your credit card from identity theft

Many like the freedom of online shopping. There is no long line or crowded stores to tire you out. You get to shop from the comfort of your home. All you have to do is put your credit card details in and wait for your purchases to come to you. It’s just that easy.

You did your shopping and were feeling good about your experience. Then you got your bill and noticed there are several charges to credit card. You realized you have become the target of credit card fraud. Now your stress-free shopping has become filled with stress because your credit card details have been stolen. How can you protect your credit card details when shopping online? The top 10 tips for identity theft protection are explained below. 

The State of California Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General Kamala D. Harris (Attorney General) offers the following top ten tips to protect your credit card details while shopping. 

The first thing you want to do is protect your Social Security Number (SSN). You should not carry you social security card in your wallet. If your health plan uses your SSN, with the exception of (Medicare), ask them for a different number. Your SSN is a key to your credit cards details. Learn more about how you can protect yourself from identity theft by controlling the key to your credit card details. 

The second tip you want to be concern with is phishing sites. They pretend to be banks, store, and government agencies. Phishing sites are baits that will try to steal your credit card details on the phone, in emails, or regular mail. Protect your account and passwords from this predators. Legitimate companies will not request verification this way. According to the California Department of Justice Office “never give out your personal information unless you made the contact.” 

Thirdly, polish your password practices. Your password is the door to your credit card details. Do not open this door. Make your passwords strong, hide them, and keep them handy. Good password protection practice is work, but fixing identity theft problems is hard labor. It’s all up to you. 

A fourth practice to protect you credit details is being mysterious on social networks. Don’t over share tech-savvy thieves uses your (home or email address, children names, birth dates etc.) to scam, phish and steal your account, so do not post these to you pages. This article on staying private in public helps you learn to stay private on social networks. It is packed with informative tips to keep you safe from identity theft. 

The fifth thing from ‘top ten tips for identity theft’ is shield your computer and smartphones. Protect personal information on your computer and smartphones. Strong passwords, firewall, virus, and spyware protections that updates regularly is strongly advised to protect you from computer spies. Get smart with your smartphone. Protect it just as you would your computer. Install spyware, malware, and tracking apps to protect yourself from thieves who could rob you of your credit card details. 

A sixth way to protect your credit details is to read an organization’s privacy policy. If they are not transparent or don’t have a privacy policy, “stop-retreat-reconsider.” Only use companies that respect customers enough to explain how their company handles and uses your personal information. Privacy polices should ask basic questions. Learn more about these basic questions at “How To Read a Privacy policy” to protect your credit card details while shopping online. 

The seventh thing you want to do to protect your credit details is open your credit card bill and bank statements immediately. You should check for and report any unauthorized charges and withdrawals. If your bills don’t arrive on time, call immediately; it may mean your information has been changed to hide fraudulent charges. 

An eighth way to stop credit theft is to opt-out of pre-approved credit card offers. Have your name removed from credit bureau marketing lists to stop these offers from coming to your box. Discarded mail in your trash is a tempting target for identity thieves to steal your mail and make fraudulent purchases. Also opting out or opting in of firm offers of credit or insurance gives you an informed decision whether you want to be pre-screened or pre-approved for offers. 

The ninth way to stay protected from credit fraud is to order a free credit report.  Make sure you are not being fooled by look-a-likes. There are lot of sites that claim to give free credit reports. The good thing is Federal law allows you to get a free copy of your credit report once a year through only one website called Annual Credit authorized by Federal law. It ensures that the credit information on all your credit reports is correct and up-to-date. 

The tenth and last, but not least, of the top ten tips for identity theft protection is simply to ask questions. Some important questions are: How will your details be used? How will it be shared? How will it be protected?). Explain that you are concerned about identity theft and if you are not satisfied, stop, retreat and reconsider).

If you consider these ten tips when shopping online you will avoid the disaster mentioned at the outset of this article. Your online shopping experience will continue to be one of stress-free shopping.