In honor of Data Privacy Day, we’ve listed three easy ways to keep your debit and credit card information safe from theft this year, and protect your finances in the long run.
1. Change Passwords Often and Use Two-Step Verification When Possible
Thanks to the internet and various mobile payment systems, thieves can access your personal account information from all kinds of platforms these days.
While some hackers might concentrate their efforts on using fraudulent emails and spam to implant malware on mobile devices, others might try to directly access the financial information attached to your credit or debit cards by infiltrating password-protected applications.
That’s why it’s important to use firewalls and anti-virus protection across all devices, keep different passwords for different financial access points and change those passwords frequently. If an app offers two-step verification or other multi-factor authentication methods, use them.
2. Check Balances and Statements Constantly
With smartphones and mobile banking apps, you don’t have to wait until the end of the month to receive a statement and know exactly how much you’ve spent.
By constantly checking personal account balances and statements online, you can quickly identify fraudulent charges made to your debit or credit card and contact your financial institution to access asset protection services and identity theft protection. Many banks and credit unions also offer email and mobile phone alerts to notify you immediately of any suspicious or unauthorized credit card charges.
3. Avoid Using Debit or Credit Cards for Certain Transactions
There are certain places where it can be risky to use credit or debit cards, and gas stations are certainly one of them.
Through gas station credit card skimming, hackers can attach external devices to credit card slots at a gas station then save and store card information immediately after customers swipe their cards. If a credit card slot looks different than other card readers around the station, it could be set up for credit card skimming. To protect your financial information, try to use cash when possible at gas stations, or opt to pay the cashier inside.
About Data Privacy Day
Data Privacy Day started in the United States and Canada in 2008 as an extension of Europe’s Data Protection Day, and is now observed annually and internationally on Jan. 28. Data Privacy Day highlights the need for consumers to remain vigilant and proactive when it comes to protecting their personal data and responsibly managing their digital footprint.