With the increase in technology, credit cards are more accessible than ever. What does this mean for all of us? Easier transactions, faster checkout, better ways to build credit (if managed correctly!)? Yes, but it also creates a whole other world of scammers, identity theft, and fraud. Access to your card information can be stolen from unsecured websites, through scam emails or calls, or even through companies that end up having breaches. In turn, this can affect our credit scores, which as you may have learned through all these blogs… is very important!
What even is Credit Fraud?
Credit Fraud (also known as credit card fraud) is a crime that is committed against cardholders where the thieves have access to their information, numbers, and possible bank account information and can choose to spend by buying things, applying for more credit cards or opening other lines, or engaging in other activity that directly affects credit scores. According to Bank Rate, in 2021 there was $32.34 Billion in credit card fraud reported.
I have several credit cards… What do I do?
There are a few options on ways you can protect yourself through credit fraud to prevent massive changes and effects to your score, or even to your bank account. Please conduct your own research through your personal credit card companies as it may vary depending on the card.
1. Opt into privacy protection and fraud protection, if possible, through your card company.
2. Turn on any form of multi-factor protection whether that be passwords to your card accounts or even with travel. Make sure you cover your bases! These services are usually free and easy to integrate!
3. Consider freezing and unfreezing your credit. Experian is a great example of this as they offer this for FREE! If you have experienced any identity theft or issues in the past, this is a great way from stopping theft and unauthorized opening of new credit lines. It won’t have any effect on your credit score either!
4. Sign up with secure credit cards! Make sure to do your research on the company, recent security breaches, and services offered. If you are just starting out, check out Credit Builder Card!
I’m worried about this effecting my credit score…
Don’t be! All of this is to help protect you and is known for NOT affecting credit. Take the steps to prevent future disasters. With the increase in online crime, we all have to be proactive, not reactive!