Fraud comes in many forms. A card data breach is one form that can have a large impact on consumers, banks and credit card companies. Card data breaches occur when credit or debit card information is stolen by cyber thieves who have accessed card payment information without authorization. The purpose of stealing credit and debit card information is to use the card numbers to make unauthorized purchases.
If you’re ever the victim or target of credit or debit card theft or fraud, catching it fast and reporting it to your bank or card issuer is key to resolving the situation.
Closely monitor your accounts daily or weekly with online banking. Review your monthly bank statements and credit card bills. Look for any unauthorized transactions, large and small. It’s easy to spot large unauthorized transactions but oftentimes small transactions can be signs of fraud. It’s important to be on the lookout and report unauthorized transactions immediately, no matter how small.
Periodically review your credit reports for warning signs of fraudulent activity. You are entitled to at least one free credit report every 12 months from each of the nation’s three major credit bureaus. To maximize your protection against fraud, some experts recommend getting one free report every four months instead of all three at the same time. To request your free report, go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call toll-free 1.877.322.8228.
Pay attention to notices from retailers, credit card companies or your bank about a security breach. In the event of a large-scale breach, you may receive notice that your credit/debit card is being replaced with one that has a new card number.
Be on guard against scams offering "help" after a data breach. Be very careful about responding to an unsolicited e-mail promoting credit monitoring services. Many of these offers are fraudulent. If you're interested in credit monitoring and it's not being offered for free by your retailer or bank, do your own independent research to find a reputable service.
Staying vigilant and proactive can help protect your money!