Consumer education company Credit Card Insider has analyzed Federal Trade Commission data regarding fraud and scams to teach credit card users proper practices to protect themselves, their credit, and their finances.
The report revealed that credit card and ID fraud incidents have skyrocketed as everyday life has become more digital. Credit card fraud has been one of the fastest-growing forms of identity theft as fraud has risen by 104 percent between quarter 1 2019 and quarter 2020, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Key takeaways from the report are as follows:
- In 2019 alone, the FTC returned $232.3 million to victims of identity theft.
- The main source of fraud differed by age groups, with ages 20-69 most commonly falling victim through online sources like websites, while people over 70 were by phone.
- Of the people Credit Card Insider surveyed in a separate retail credit card survey, over 50% said they’d be shopping online for the holiday season, and 36% reported they’d shop both online and in-store.
- Though not inherently related to the FTC’s fraud data, this highlights both the growing importance of online shopping and, in turn, the need for fraud preparedness.
A few tips to protect against fraud include always paying attention to where and how online shopping takes place. This involves checking the web site’s URL, ensuring the “HTTPS” and the lock symbol are at the far left side of the search bar to know that the site is secured and protected. Never shop on public wif networks is also recommended so that exposure to hackers does not occur, which can be avoided using personal or mobile networks to shop online safely.
Another good tip is to regularly monitor transactions and credit reports, including checking bank transactions once a week to catch suspicious transactions and act quickly to resolve the issue. Refraining from giving information thieves need to open an account, including social security number, annual income, rent/mortgage, and other personal data such as date of birth, can help prevent fraud.
Contactless payment options such as mobile or digital wallets are proven to be safer payment methods as opposed to swiping a credit card. Using a credit card over a debit card is also a good tip as credit cards are traditionally safer than debit cards and have stronger federal regulations.
Always remember to keep credit reports frozen when not applying for a new credit card. This helps to prevent fraudsters from opening new accounts under someone else’s name.