Because of all the expected expenses that come with the “-ber months, many Filipinos rely on credit cards to cover their holiday costs. With deferred payment plans and even zero interest rate promotions, it’s no wonder why using credit is such an appealing option. Some cards even offer additional perks. For example, Robinsons Bank’s DOS Mastercard waives the annual fee as long as you use it at least twelve times a year.
But while using credit cards can make shopping incredibly convenient, it can also expose you to all sorts of identity theft if you aren’t careful. Luckily, there are several things you can do to keep your credit card details safe from enterprising scammers this Christmas season.
- Only Shop on Secure Websites
A credit card lets you shop from the comfort of your own home, which means you won’t have to brave the holiday crowds in malls or markets. But while shopping online is incredibly convenient, it also gives fraudsters another way of sneakily collecting your personal information. They can go as far as creating fake pages that mimic the look and feel of legitimate online shops in an attempt to fool you into handing over your credit card information.
One way to avoid falling victim to this is to only shop on secure websites. That means you need to check if the site is using SSL protection, which encrypts all data processed between your computer and the server. To find out if a website is SSL-protected, all you have to do is check if the URL uses “https” instead of “http” and if there is a little lock symbol in the address bar.
- Watch Out for Phishing Schemes
We Filipinos are quite trusting as a people, but when it comes to our personal information, it pays to be a bit more cautious than usual. As a good rule of thumb, remember that credit card companies will never ask for your CVV over the phone, as they don’t need it to process anything regarding your account.
These scammers don’t just try to fool people on the phone, though. They’re also tech-savvy and take advantage of e-mails to trick unsuspecting victims in handing over their credit card details. Thus, be wary of any e-mails or text messages that contain suspicious-looking links. These could lead you to fake websites imitating your bank’s login page, which then sends whatever username or password you inputted straight to the fraudster’s inbox.
Should you receive any communications requesting this information, ignore them and immediately report the incident to your credit card provider.
- Keep Your Card Details Private
Though Christmas is a time for generosity, your credit card details are something that you should only keep to yourself. That means you should never write down your CVV anywhere, and especially not in the same wallet where you keep your credit card. Don’t keep your card details recorded in a text or notes file, either, as the CVV is all a malicious individual will need to swipe your card as much as they’d like.
Receipts are another way that fraudsters can collect your credit card details. To be on the safe side, always shred receipts or statements that you no longer need. While it may seem a bit on the extreme side, there are individuals who will root through trash cans to get their hands on people’s personal information.
Don’t forget to cover up your actual credit card, too, especially when paying for purchases at the store. Leaving your card exposed for too long could give a fraudster the opportunity to photograph it from afar!
- Use an RFID Blocking Sleeve or Wallet
With the switch to contactless credit cards, it’s now possible to make payments with a simple tap on a payment terminal. Gone are the days of requiring signatures on each and every purchase you make.
But though this advancement in technology makes shopping more convenient, it can also expose you to new security concerns. Because of the nature of contactless cards, it’s possible to extract a credit card’s details using devices called remote readers. It’s even possible to modify a smartphone to skim credit cards from a distance.
The good news is that you can protect your credit card from remote reading. All you need to do is purchase RFID-blocking sleeves, which are relatively cheap to purchase in bulk. You could also protect all your cards in one go by purchasing an RFID-blocking wallet, which can easily be found in most department stores and online shops.
Though there may be a lot of opportunistic fraudsters out there, you should be able to prevent them from getting your information as long as you exercise your due diligence. As long as you stay alert and keep yourself updated on card security measures, you can swipe your card without a worry throughout the holidays. Happy Christmas shopping!