It is indeed a very unpleasant experience when you open your credit card statement and see charges in the list that you did not make. But you will have to keep in mind that none of us is immune to data breaches. It is hard to stop hackers from getting the information they are after, however, you can take a number of precautionary measures to minimize the damage.
So we are making an attempt to make you aware of a few ways in which hackers can steal from you so that you are better prepared.
Password and Pin
Millions of people around the globe keep a very basic and insecure password and pin. They also use the same password and pin across multiple sites and cards as it becomes easy to remember, but mind you it also becomes easy to crack.
There are a few password rules (should contain some random letters, numbers in between, special characters) you should follow to make your password stronger. This will surely not going to totally prevent the breach but precaution always counts. You should also keep changing your password frequently.
If a hacker can figure out your password, they will not be able to figure out the one-time code that the bank provides you before processing any transaction. A two-factor authentication (2FA) is really a must as it will require the hacker to have physical possession of your device so that they can have the code.
Phishing is one of the simplest, direct and most used methods of stealing one’s private information. It can be done via phone call. Users receive a call from the hacker, mostly warning about some security issues, which in most cases, puts users off the guard.
In the moment of artificial pressure and emergency created by the caller, few users end up sharing critical information related to their accounts.
For example, they will call you pretending to be from your bank or from your credit card issuer’s fraud department and will trick you into giving your personal information. If you ever get such calls don’t give any details and instead directly call your bank and report about such calls.
Spoofing is very much similar to Phishing with the only difference being hackers use emails and fake websites to steal your information instead of calling.
For example, you might get emails that look like your credit card company trying to contact you for reconfirming your personal information including your password and your card details by saying that there is some suspicious activity from your account. But you should never fall for that and inform your bank regarding such mails. And the same goes for any such text messages and websites.
Skimming is another common method to get your card data and if you thought that the internet is the only place where hackers can steal from your credit card, you are going to be surprised.
Skimmers are the devices that are placed over ATMs and card readers on petrol pumps etc. When you swipe your card it passes through the skimmers which capture all your details and saves them which can later be retrieved by the hacker.
So before inserting your card, you should always examine the machine very carefully and look for anything that seems out of place or externally attached.
A data breach is a very common thing. Hackers breach a company’s security to gain the private information of users attached to the company. This requires a great skill set but once successful it can be the most valuable steal for the hackers as they get hold of millions of users’ data in one go.
Many e-commerce systems allow you to store your credit card information for later use, making repeated purchases easy as you don’t have to re-enter your card details again and again. Although this data is highly encrypted but sometimes after targeting such organizations, hackers decrypt the data successfully and steal credit cards and personal information from millions of users.
As the name suggests your confidential information can also be retrieved from a dump and thus you should never throw away your documents and receipts into the trash that have your personal details and full card number printed without shedding them.
Although you cannot control how other businesses dispose of their records, you can certainly take care of the way you dispose of important documents.
Sometimes you might come across a lesser-known credit card company with offers such as a high limit or better interest rate or maybe a few offers that are far beyond your credit score limit. Such companies mostly ask you for an initial fee to create your account, only to be never heard from again.
The advance fee offer may feel really tempting but always put your trust in reputed credit card issuers and banks to minimize fraud risk.
Malware and Viruses
Installing malware and viruses is another way hackers can gather confidential information from you. Such malware and viruses can get installed on your PC, laptop, mobiles, tablets, etc just by visiting sites that are not secure and sometimes also by clicking on a random ad or link on those sites or by installing apps that are from some unknown sources.
So one should always remember not to visit such sites or click on such links and also never to install any apps that seem a bit fishy.