Since more people are ditching cash and making use of their credit cards, it is to be expected that more people will be trying to steal information from credit cards. One of the easiest ways for them to steal information is to pretend to be talking on a cell phone while actually snapping pictures of your credit cards. As a savvy consumer, do yourself a favor and use some or all of the tips below so that you can protect your credit. A few simple modifications to your in-store shopping habits can go a long way toward preventing any type of credit card theft.
Never put your purse in the child’s seat
It may be convenient for you to place your purse in the child seat of the cart, but it also makes theft a lot easier. If you happen to have your wallet open to see the coupons you have inside or because you got the list out of it, identity thieves can easily take a picture of anything that might be visible in your wallet, including your credit cards and identification.
Keep your cart behind you in line
You can stand behind your cart until you get close to the register, but then make sure your cart is behind you. When you open your wallet, swipe your credit card, or hand it to the cashier, having your cart between you and the person behind you makes it harder for them to see your credit card, or worse, take a picture of it to use later. This might irritate the person behind you, but if the price of being polite means that your credit or identity is compromised, stick with the rude impression.
Hand cards over upside down
Notice the way most people hand their credit cards over. They usually do it face up, with the credit card numbers exposed. Most people do this out of habit since cashiers used to actually look at credit cards before they ran them through the handy machines they used. Today it is just too risky to allow anyone to see the front of your credit card, even if your cashier doesn’t realize it. If you really want to be helpful, share your reasons with your cashier and ask him or her to hand the credit card back to you face down as well. Like most consumers, most cashiers probably don’t even think about the potential problems that are involved when your credit card numbers are exposed.
Make photocopies of all your credit cards, front and back
If something does happen to one of your cards, you will have all the information you need to call the right number and cancel the card. The copies will also show how your card is signed, which may be important should the issue ever go to court, since you should have it set up so anyone making charges with your card should have been required to show identification before the card was swiped by the cashier.
Don’t sign your credit card
When you hand your credit card over face down, your cashier should notice that you have not signed the card. Instead, your card should read “photo I.D. required” so that your cashier will ask to see a photo I.D. before they charge the credit card. This also means that should someone steal your card, they will need to show identification before actually using it.
Keep an extra copy of at least one credit card
Put this card away for emergencies so that if your one of your cards is stolen and you have to cancel it, you won’t lose access to your account while the issue is being dealt with.
You should not have to do any of the things listed here, but credit card theft and fraud are becoming prevalent enough for you to take these steps to be safe. As an added bit of safety, make sure your credit card provider has protocol and protection in place in case your card gets stolen. You don’t want to be held financially responsible for someone else’s spending, but it is your responsibility to make sure you have some kind of protection in place, just in case.