Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft Are Scarier than Halloween
The string of big retail stores reporting customer data breaches this year from Target at the end of 2013 to Home Depot just last month make it frighteningly obvious that theft of personal and financial data is a real threat to each of us. While using cash from now on may sound like a great idea to avoid data theft, the fact is credit cards remain one of the most secure ways to shop. Here's why:
Credit card companies have your back.
The large financial institutions that issue credit cards have advanced technology for unmasking fraud. Visa®, for instance, uses best-in-class systems
for their cardholders including personal shopper profiles to detect fraud in real time while the purchase is taking place.
Credit card accounts can act as a money management tool.
Your credit card statement acts as a master receipt to help you keep track of purchases and payments. Credit card transactions are posted daily. Frequent review of your online account will help you spot any purchases that you didn't make. Report suspicious transactions to your credit card issuing company right away.
Credit cards offer better protection than debit cards.
Almost all credit card financial institutions protect you against fraudulent use of your card, including your OpenSky Visa card's Zero Liability policy that protects against unauthorized use of your card or card number, in store or on-line. As for debit cards, since they are linked to checking accounts, using a debit card for purchases allows merchants to take cash out immediately. While your debit card bank may offer protection against unauthorized withdrawal, you can still be without access to your bank account funds for a period of time until your fraud claim is settled.
Credit reports can serve as a monitoring tool.
Credit cards are directly tied to your credit report, so look to credit reports to help you monitor fraudulent or incorrect charges. For your security, check the reports from all three major credit bureaus at least yearly for unauthorized use of personal information such as your address, social security number and/or credit card account numbers to make sure that your good credit and reputation aren't at risk.
While credit cards prove to be one one of the most secure ways to shop, remember, frequent monitoring is the way to nip any breach in the bud.