When Being #1 Stinks...US Leads the World In Credit Card Fraud

When Being #1 Stinks...US Leads the World In Credit Card Fraud

After any sporting event, it is not unusual to see athletes hold their index fingers in the air proclaiming, "we are number one." Being "Number One" is a great thing, but not all of the time. The Nilson Report, a global card and payments trade publication, indicates that the United States surpasses every country globally as the most credit fraud-prone, with nearly $9.5 billion lost through illegal transactions. In the movie Talladega Nights, the character Ricky Bobby, a NASCAR driver, proclaimed, "if you're not first, you're last." Well, the United States might want to be in last place when it comes to credit card fraud. 

What are some things you can do to protect yourself from credit card fraud?

  • Freeze your credit reports 
    • Creating new credit cards with your identity is still a favorite with credit card thieves. One of the best ways to prevent that is to freeze your credit reports. With your credit file frozen, it is considerably more challenging for fraudsters to open new credit cards. To learn more about freezing your credit reports, go to our Credit Protection
  • Watch for skimming devices.
    • Identity thieves add difficult-to-detect skimming devices to credit card scanners and ATMs. Check out this US News & World Report article to learn more. 
  • Protect your mail, or better yet, stop it. 
    • Signup for electronic delivery of statements, so you have less sensitive mail coming to your home. 
  • Don't save your credit cards to your computers. 
    • Never save credit card numbers, or passwords, to your computer or phone. It is essential to type these in when you need them. 
  • Only access trusted websites. 
    • Make sure you are only on secure websites. The website address should begin with "HTTPS" if it is secure.  
  • Use anti-virus software on your devices. 
    • Keep your devices free of viruses and malware by having appropriate detection software.
  • Use virtual private networks (VPN) in less secure networks. 
  • Get text message alerts when you make transactions.
    • Turn-on text message alerts by logging into the online accounts of your credit cards. Each time your card is utilized, you will get a text message alerting you of the transaction, which is a great way to spot unusual activity with your card. 
  • Utilize virtual credit card numbers with online transactions. 
    • Many credit card issuers offer one-time or virtual card numbers to use online. Investigate this as an alternative to using the number on your card.

Identity thieves are constantly updating their tactics. The tips above remain effective in reducing your likelihood of being a victim. But, it would be best if you remained vigilant to continue to be safe. Let's make America last again! Well, last in credit card fraud, that is.