We are in the technology age and technology is so much attached to our daily life. Many transactions can now be done online through credit or debit card in a matter of seconds. Advancement of technology has contributed to the prevalence of online transactions.
We must be informed that our credit or debit card information is very confidential, sensitive and always at risk of being stolen by identity thieves. Cyber criminals are always thinking of taking advantage of the advancement of technology to defraud unsuspecting victims, particularly the debit and credit card users.
Credit or Debit Card Fraud happens when personal or sensitive information on the card is stolen and used to make online transactions without the permission of the real owner of the card. Anyone can become a victim of debit or credit card fraud.
It is very unfortunate that many people do not pay serious attention to online fraud prevention tips until they have become a victim. This is the main reason why there are several cases of debit and credit card fraud on daily basis, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic which has forced many people to work online from home.
According to a report by Carmen Million of the Better Business Bureau, because people took to online shopping for their safety and convenience during the stay-at-home order, fraudsters became more active to try to steal personal banking information.
There are so many ways through which your credit or debit card information can be stolen but these are the most common ways:
- When you lose it or misplace it and a wrong person picks it up.
- When you throw away any document that contains your card information without shredding it.
- When you don’t cover the keypad of the ATM or POS machine when typing your PIN.
- When you use the numbers on your birthday, age or phone number as your PIN.
- When you share personal or sensitive information on your card with people.
- When you store your card information on your phone or computer.
- When you do online transactions through public WiFi networks.
- When you use your card on a fake ATM or POS machine.
- When you use other people’s device to do online transactions e.g. smartphone, iPad, laptop etc.
- When you ignorantly provide your personal or sensitive information to an impersonator or identity thief that claims to be a representative of your bank or credit card company.
Here are some tips on how to protect yourself against credit and debit card fraud:
- Don’t share your password or PIN with anyone.
- Never give your credit or debit card information to anyone over the phone, email or text message.
- When using the ATM or POS machine, cover the keypad of the machine when typing your PIN and always watch your back.
- Beware of free WiFi networks and avoid using any public WiFi networks for your online transactions.
- Avoid sharing sensitive information on unsecured networks or websites.
- Never allow anyone to assist you at the ATM or POS terminal. Always handle your transactions by yourself.
- Set up automatic alerts with your mobile phone & email.
- Always clear CACHE after you do any online transaction on your device.
- When doing any online transaction, watch out for “HTTPS”. When a website has “HTTP” and not “HTTPS”, be suspicious.
- Sign up for fraud alerts so that you can be notified of any suspicious activity.
- Avoid Pop-up windows because they are being used by cyber criminals to trick you into providing sensitive information.
- Avoid storing your card details on phone, computer or websites.
- Don’t write your PIN, password or card details in a piece of paper and keep it in your purse or bag.
- Always shred any document that contains your card details before you throw it away.
- Use PIN that is not easy to guess by anyone. Avoid using numbers in your age, birthday or phone number as your PIN.
- Be wise when using ATM or POS terminals. Investigate the source of the machine before you use it to avoid fake ATM or POS machine.
- Review your account statements regularly to know if there is any suspicious activity.
- Anytime you notice any suspicious activity on your account, report to your bank or credit card company immediately.
- Contact cyber security experts to educate you on how to stay safe online.
- Report any lost card immediately to your bank or credit card company.
Rotimi Onadipe is the CEO of Onadipe Technologies and National Coordinator for Internet Abuse Crime Prevention Project Nigeria. He can be contacted via : +234-8169121819 / firstname.lastname@example.org