There are more preventative measures to consider when it comes to keeping your credit card account information safe.
This is because you will have to consider the numerous places in which your information is stored, who potentially has access to it and how to prevent them getting their hands on it.
Credit card bills
The most obvious item will be your monthly credit card bill in a paper format delivered through your front door.
If your bill has been opened when it arrives through your letterbox it is probably best that you ring up your credit card company and tell them that you think your card details may have been compromised. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action to take from there.
If your bill arrives unopened your next concern will be disposing of it safely once you are done with it.
Before we can consider how you will dispose of your credit card bills we first need to answer the question of when is the right time to dispose of them.
There isn’t a law that says you have to keep your credit card statements for a set period of time so, once you have checked them, it is up to you to decide how long you would like to hold onto them.
Once you have decided how long you feel you should keep hold of your credit card bills you will then know when you can destroy them. Now you need to know how.
The advised course of practice for safely disposing of credit card bills is to shred them, along with other sensitive documents like bank statements, and then put them out with your normal rubbish or recycling.
Keep card away from address and PIN
Another thing you will need to consider is what information you keep in the same place as your credit card because if you keep too much information with your card you could be offering easy pickings for fraudsters.
The most obvious thing to avoid keeping with your card is your PIN number as this will make it very easy for thieves to withdraw funds and make purchases using your card. It will also mean that the bank will not give you the stolen money back because you will have breached their security rules. The same will apply if you don’t keep your PIN a secret nor guard it carefully when entering it into cash machines or into Chip and PIN pads when making purchases.
There are also potential dangers associated with keeping your address with your credit cards. If you are a victim of theft and the thief manages to get hold of both your credit card and your address, this will make it very easy for the thief to use your card online and over the phone to make purchases.
If you do need to keep items with your address in the same place as your credit cards, the best thing to do is set up a password for the card, using either MasterCard Secure Code or Verified by Visa, and keep it a secret. This way a thief would need your card, your address and your password to make online purchases.
Online account management
You will also need to be careful if you choose to use online account management for your credit card because thieves could potentially steal your login details in one of two ways.
Firstly, you could be redirected to an unsecure page where the information you enter isn’t encrypted, so when you enter in your details the fraudster can see them and use them later to logon in your name on the real site and access your money.
Luckily, there are several ways you can prevent this from occurring including looking for https at the beginning of the URL, and looking to see if there is a padlock in the address bar of the browser window or on the bottom of the browser window (please see Section 7.2 ‘How to check a webpage is secure’ for more information).
Secondly, some fraudsters like to use a technique called ‘phishing’ to get their hands on your credit card details.
The fraudster will send you an email from an address with the bank name in and tell you your account is going to be suspended because of a security breach unless you follow the link in the email and verify your identity by entering in your account details and login information. Banks would NEVER ask you for this information, especially by email. If you get an email like this, ignore it but send a copy to the bank so they can investigate it further.