From online shopping to paying restaurant bills to booking tickets, credit cards make our lives so convenient. But what if the same gets stolen or somebody steals the information about it and misuses it?
While credit cards have made our wallets lighter by replacing cash, rising frauds related to them raises concern too. Therefore paying attention to the security of your credit cards is a must.
Here are eight easy ways to keep your credit card safe and secure.
Keep unused cards in a safe
These days having a number of credit cards is not uncommon. But it's best to leave those credit cards at home which you use rarely or have assigned for specific things like travel.
In case you lose your wallet, this strategy would prove to be extremely advantageous. Then you would only have to get minimum number of cards replaced.
Choose secured websites for credit cards
It's an age of online shopping. While credit cards offer convenience, make sure you enter your credit card number only on a secured website. The address of the website uses 'https' rather than 'http' only.
Also the website should display the secured lock either at the bottom right corner or on the top in some browsers.
Use a website that has solid encryption software. Also, in order to avoid getting duped do not make use of public computers to shop online.
Sign your card
Another thing to pay attention is to signing at the back of your credit card as soon as you receive it. This will prevent somebody else from making use of your credit card in case it gets stolen.
Monitor your CIBIL Credit report
It's also a good idea to keep checking your CIBIL report every 6 months to check if there are loan accounts that do not belong to you. There are three ways you could spot suspicious activity.
First is the credit inquires. Credit reports capture loan enquiries made in an individual's name as well as new loans being raised. Look for lenders which have accessed your credit report to process an application.
If you do not recognise any of them it could be a fraudulent activity.
Secondly, look for unknown accounts.
If you do not recognise an account there is high probability somebody else has raised a loan using your name.
Lastly, look for addresses on your credit report. If it's not yours, it means a fraudulent application was used for credit. To access your CIBIL credit report that includes also your CIBIL credit score, login to www.cibil.com, fill your personal details in the form and make a payment of Rs 470.
Once you successfully authenticate yourself after answering 3 to 5 questions, you will get your CIBIL report in your mailbox.
Check your credit card statements
Another way to keep your credit cards safe is to keep a check on your credit card statements regularly. Any unfamiliar purchase and debits of small amounts could be a sign of a fraudulent activity.
Besides, make sure your credit card bill arrives on time.
A late arrival could be an indication of identity theft and should be immediately reported to the credit card issuer.
Be careful at an ATM
You need to be cautious at an ATM counter. Make sure there is no device attached to ATM slot as it could be a skimmer to capture your credit card information when you swipe it. If you notice the same, alert the bank immediately.
Keep an eye at the time of transaction
If a cashier takes too long for the transaction, there are high chances that your card might be getting scanned through skimming terminal to gather the information.
Pay attention to the person who is swiping your card and take it back as soon as possible.
Buy identity theft insurance and card protection plans
Identity theft has become quite common these days. It means stealing somebody's identity to obtain credit in his or her name. Some insurers like Tata AIG have come up with an identity theft and fraudulent charges insurance.
It provides you coverage against any fraudulent charges made on your credit card by stealing your identity.
You can also go for card protection plans offered by the likes of ICICI bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank etc.
If you register with them you would be able to block all lost cards at a single call.
You would also be provided lost card replacement assistance. There are different membership plans to choose from, starting from Rs 1,399 to Rs 2,185.
Follow these simple tips and you would be able to safeguard yourself against any credit card frauds we read about in newspapers.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
The author is Co-founder and Director Credit Vidya.