For most people, a credit card is like a financial lifeline. Credit credits are small, easy to carry, accepted in most retail and dining establishments, and are often safer than carrying cash. However, despite the conveniences that credit cards provide, there are also potential consequences to having one and using it to conduct financial transactions. One problem area is where credit cards meet online financing. Just as credit cards are convenient methods of payment, the internet is a convenient place for paying bills, loans, and checking in on your credit card account. Most major credit card companies allow customers to conduct online banking, including paying bills. While this makes life easier for busy clients, it also presents an opportunity for online fraud. Credit card hacking is a growing problem, and without taking preventative action to keep your financial data safe and secure online, you run the risk of being a victim of this malicious cybercrime.
What is Credit Card Hacking?
Credit card hacking poses a risk to anyone who uses the internet to make credit card payments and perform other relevant transactions. The process of hacking involves a hacker, or group of hackers, gaining access to a computer or a network. Then, the individual or group of cybercriminals looks for loopholes and security soft spots that are easy to exploit. These weak areas are where important and confidential information, such as user passwords and personal financial data, is stored in the computer system. Hackers locate and retrieve that information, and use it for their own personal gain.
What if Your Credit Card is Hacked?
Despite your attempts to prevent a credit card attack, you may still fall victim to this cybercrime. According to research, nearly four in ten cardholders in the United States have been victimized by credit card hacking scandals. There are several remedial actions that you can take upon discovering your data has been illegally confiscated. First, call the company that issued your credit card. The company will be able to put a hold on the card, which prevents the hacker, who now has the card’s information, from using it to make payments and purchases. Additionally, the sooner you report a credit card hack the better, since you may face some financial responsibility if you fail to report a card hack soon after it happens. The issuing company will be able to open an investigation immediately upon receiving your complaint, and during this time, they will be able to reverse charges that the hackers make with your card. After making the initial call, you should keep an eye on all of your credit card accounts to make sure your other cards’ data has not been stolen as well.
Taking Preventative Action
While instances of credit card hacking are on the rise, you can take preventative action to defend against personal harm. First, you should never give out your personal credit card information unless required to do so. The fewer people who know your card information, the better off you will be. You can also keep your computer updated with protective, anti-malware software. If you use the internet to pay credit card bills and make purchases, you should have strong passwords for all of the sites where you enter your credit card information. That fortifies your computer’s system from a breach, since strong passwords are difficult for hackers to figure out and exploit. If you are planning to pay your taxes via credit card, consider the alternative options available to you, which might prove to be safer. Additionally, many credit card bureaus offer consumer protection against credit card hacks with credit card freezes. A freeze prevents them from releasing your credit reports or credit history to companies or retailers that do not have a relationship with you (in other words, if you’ve never previously purchased their products or do not typically request the services they offer). Credit card monitoring is another simple and effective way of detecting and preventing fraud. You can create activity alerts on your card accounts to alert you of potentially suspicious activity. You can also use financial tracking apps, which work by watching for fraudulent activity against other cardholders with the same card, and alert you if there is a scam.
Credit card hacking is a growing problem for individuals and organizations who use the internet to make purchases, pay credit card bills, and conduct banking. While the internet offers a convenient method of making credit card payments, it opens the door for vulnerability too. Fortunately, users can take a number of simple and effective steps to safeguard their cards from hacking attacks, and there are remedies available if you do fall victim to a hacking scandal.
(Image courtesy of Anusorn P nachol / freedigitalphotos.net)
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