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