Credit Card Safety: 52% of Americans Say They Had Their Account Info Stolen At Least Once

Photo of a father and daughter sitting in the kitchen,daughter is comforting her father who is worried about home bills.
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Among the many ways COVID-19 has made life harder for people, one that has largely flown under the radar is how the pandemic has fed an increase in credit card fraud.

See: 23% of Americans Were Victims of Credit Card Fraud Last Year — How to Protect Yourself
Find: Why It’s Still Better to Use Your Credit Card Over Your Debit Card

But that has become a real problem for millions of Americans. A new survey from Business.org found that 59% of respondents have reported concerns about having their credit card information stolen, with 52% reporting that they’ve had their credit card information stolen at least once.

The survey of 700 Americans was conducted in partnership with Pollfish. Among its other findings: More than 60% of Americans say their credit card debt has increased since the beginning of the pandemic, with 52% saying they’ve increased their credit limits to support their growing spending habits.

See: As Pandemic Locked Down America, Fraudsters Used Personal Data to Scam Banks, Unemployment Offices
Find: Awesome Credit Card Concierge Services You May Not Be Taking Advantage Of

This rise in credit-card spending has aligned with a similar rise in financial fraud. As Creditcards.com reported, the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network 2020 Data Book found that credit card fraud ranked first in the number of fraud reports involving payment methods — well above debit cards, payment apps, wire transfers and bank transfers.

Earn More Perks From Your Credit Card

Research reveals that consumers experienced a surge of credit card fraud in 2020, with much of that attributed to scams related to COVID-19. Credit card fraud is part of a broader trend of financial fraud in general. Americans have lost nearly $500 million to COVID-related scams since the beginning of the pandemic, CNBC reported this week, citing FTC data.

See: 4 People Whose Identities Were Stolen — and How They Got Through It
Find: Why Now Is the Time to Transfer Your Credit Card Balance

To reduce the risk of credit card fraud, the FTC website offers these tips:

  • Keep your account numbers and expiration dates in a secure place in case you need to report fraud.
  • Don’t lend your card to anyone, and don’t leave your cards, receipts or statements lying around your home or office.
  • Don’t give your account number to anyone on the phone unless you’ve made the call to a company you know to be reputable.
  • Carry your cards separately from your wallet to minimize your losses if your wallet is lost or stolen.
  • Keep your eyes on your card during transactions and make sure you get it back before you walk away.
  • Never sign a blank receipt.
  • Save your receipts to compare with your statement.

Earn More Perks From Your Credit Card

Senior citizens are especially vulnerable to fraud. Although fewer seniors have been scammed compared to other age groups, they suffer nearly triple the losses when fraud does occur, CNBC reported.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte MagazineStreet & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, will be published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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