The Capital One Data Breach
Steps to protect your cards and keep “what’s in your wallet” to yourself
It seems that credit card fraud and major retailer breaches are just a part of our everyday life now.
Just recently, for example, the Capital One data breach put about 100 million customers in the U.S. and another 6 million customers in Canada at risk.
As these attacks continue and hit more often, the best thing you can do is to be informed on how to prevent and minimize the damage.
Did you know that 43% of companies had a data breach last year? Or that almost 50% of Americans have been victim to credit card fraud in the past 5 years? Or that almost 670 million card records were stolen in the past 10 years? For every American, that is 2.1 stolen credit cards.
Protect Your Cards
Take these steps to protect your cards:
Pick the right kind of card – credit is better than debit. With the flood of breaches recently, people should consider using credit cards over debit cards, because they provide better protection against fraud.
When your credit card is stolen, by federal law the consumer is only liable for up to $50. And if you report the card stolen before any fraudulent charges take place, you have no liability.
Debit cards are a different beast. You are responsible for $50 if you report a fraudulent charge on your debit card within two days. But if you report it after two days, you are liable for up to $500.
After 60 days, you have unlimited liability for any fraudulent charges. You read that right. The bank might not help you if someone steals directly from your bank account, and no one notices until two months later.
On top of having higher liability issues, debit card fraud can cause bigger cash-flow problems. When you report a theft, the credit card company typically removes the fraudulent charges quickly. But with debit cards, you are more likely to have to wait longer.
It usually takes about two weeks for a bank to reimburse you for a fraudulent charge, and during those two weeks you still need to pay your bills. This can obviously really leave people in a lurch.
Get the Chip
When you get a new credit or debit card, request a chip and PIN card. These are cards that have a microchip embedded in them, rather than just a magnetic strip on the back. They make it harder for thieves to steal. Chip and PIN cards are the most prominent kind now, but make sure and save yourself a future headache.
Remember, you can always use your credit card like a debit card, but you should not be spending more than you have on hand.
You should really check your credit and debit card statements daily. Many of these credit card companies and banks have apps, making it easy to take a look over these accounts while you are on the go.
Lock It Up
If you are still nervous about hackers getting your credit or debit card information, you could look into a service whereby your accounts are reviewed by a service. Yes, these services actually watch all your accounts for you. When they see a purchase that doesn’t follow your normal pattern, they alert you immediately.
Keep it Old School
The last step you can take in defense from credit card fraud might just be the easiest. Go back to carrying cash. Home Depot reported after their breach that they saw a noticeable uptick in many of their customers using cash.
It’s a tried-and-true method. Your paper and metal money is much less likely to get into the hands of hackers than your credit card information.
One More Sobering Thought…
Credit card fraud often leads to identity theft. And according to a report published by the Javelin Strategy, there’s a new identity theft victim every 2 seconds – and most of the incidents involve credit cards.
In the time it took you to read this article, close to 50 people were the victims of identity theft and credit card fraud.
Copyright © 2019 RSW Publishing. All rights reserved.
Distributed by Financial Media Exchange.