Daily Money Tip: Tips for Protecting Yourself Against Credit Card Theft

Last week Yahoo ran an article called “Secrets of a Former Credit Card.” The former thief shared a few tips on how we can protect ourselves against credit card theft:

Watch your accounts like a hawk. From the article: “the most important thing really is to watch your accounts. And I don’t mean just checking your statement once a month. If you’re only checking your statement once a month, someone can start using your card at the beginning of the billing cycle, and they can do a lot of damage before you catch it.  I use Mint.com, which is a free aggregation service that allows you to put all your accounts on there and monitor everything at once. I check that every day. It’s also a good idea to check your credit report at least twice a year to make sure no one has stolen your identity.”

Be careful what ATM machine you use. From the article: “I like to use ATM machines at banks rather than convenience stores or a bar or club. There have been incidents where thieves installed their own ATM machines in places with skimmers inside them. That’s much less likely to happen at a bank.”

Pay cash when you eat out at restaurants. From the article: “Every credit card has magnetic stripe on the back with data on it. There are people out there who hack into computers where that data is being stored. There are also people like waitresses and waiters with hand held skimmers who steal the data that way. Then they sell the data online.”

Don’t use a debit card. From the article: “I always recommend against them. With debit cards, it’s your real money in your bank account you’re playing with. So if someone gets your debit card information and uses it, your cash is gone until you fill out a lot of paperwork and persuade the bank to give it back to you. Credit cards are much better at protecting you against fraud. And if you’re worried about debt, you can always pay them off every month.”

There are actually more tips the former thief shares and I do encourage you to read them.  I particularly found the tip about how banking institutions don’t want to implement tougher security measures because they fear it will lead to less credit card use.  If that doesn’t make you want to pay off your credit card debt then I don’t know what else would.

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