Credit Card Safety - Keep Your Accounts Safe

Consumer Alert Header

A credit card gives you the freedom of buying now and paying later, and when used appropriately, a credit card is similar to an interest-free loan. While there are many different types of credit cards that may include rewards or special promotions, what makes them safer than cash is their ability to provide you with fraud protection.

While having a credit card is great, it is important to remember that fraudsters are always on the hunt for credit card numbers, passwords or PINs. Please stay alert and keep your personal information secure.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your credit card accounts safe:

  1. Practice credit card protection immediately.
    • Sign the back of a new card upon receipt.
    • Log into your online card account, turn on suspicious activity alerts, and take the time to create a strong and unique password and PIN for the account.
      • Do not use the same password for your bank account and retail sites.
      • Do not choose a PIN number that you use for other purposes or that is personal to you, such as your birthday or digits from your Social Security number.
    • Take advantage of multi-factor authentication when it is offered.
    • Do not let others use your card or leave your card unattended.
       
  2. Keep your account number private.
    • Do not let anyone see your credit card when you are out in public.
    • Be selective when giving your account number over the phone; only offer it when you initiate the call and are talking to a bank or merchant you trust.
    • Be suspicious of messages you receive by email, text, phone, or social media asking you to give personal information or click a suspicious link.
    • Register for paperless statements and make payments online to remove your sensitive information from the postal system.
    • Shred any documents with sensitive personal information before you trash them.
       
  3. Keep your information current.
    • Notify your bank if you move to ensure statements and other information will follow you to your new address.
    • Sign up for alerts with your financial institutions and always keep your current phone number and email address on file. By providing this information, financial institutions can easily reach you in the event of fraud or suspicious activity.
    • Make sure you also understand how your financial institution will send alerts. You may be able to choose how you prefer to be notified – via text, email, or phone.
       
  4. Be careful with your receipts.
    • Check your receipts against your account to spot potentially fraudulent transactions fast.
    • Shred duplicate or old receipts instead of simply tossing them in the trash. Securely file the receipts you wish to keep.|
       
  5. Secure your devices and networks.
    • If you allow your browser to store your credit card number, you could be vulnerable. To prevent this, consider turning off the Autofill function in each browser that you use.
    • In addition, think about using a digital wallet, a payment system housed on your smartphone that makes it possible to conduct electronic transactions using your credit cards. Digital wallets are safer than carrying a credit card, because they use encryption, tokenization, and authentication.
    • If you use a digital wallet, enable a passcode, fingerprint, or facial recognition to unlock your smartphone. If your phone doesn’t come with it, download an app to assist you in finding your phone in case you lose it.
       
  6. Protect yourself online.

To practice basic online and mobile safety, consider taking these credit card-specific measures:

  • Know your merchant. When shopping online, use secure sites only (https), confirm that the web address includes the company’s correct name, and share your personal information only if you know how it will be used. Type out your credit card number for each transaction. Never allow your credit card number to be stored on an online shopping site.
  • Add a layer of protection. Consider using an online payment system or mobile payment service like PayPal, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay to keep your credit card number out of the hands of merchants, so that if a merchant is hacked, your account number will not be leaked.
  • Do NOT use public Wi-Fi to shop, conduct financial transactions, or even check your accounts. Your information can be easily accessed by someone else on a public network.
     
  1. Check your account often.
    • Review your recent account activity frequently via your bank’s app, online, or by phone.
    • Most card issuers will also allow you to set up email or text alerts. You can tailor these alerts to come in whenever you use your card or simply to identify unusual activity.
    • If you have been a victim of fraud or identity theft in the past, consider signing up with a credit-monitoring service.
       
  2. Notify your credit card company immediately of any disputed charges

If you find unauthorized charges, do the following:

  • Contact the card company immediately to file a dispute
  • Follow up with a written notice of dispute.
  • If you have registered your card online, you can submit a dispute using your online account.
  • For more information on disputing credit card charges, read “Credit Cards – Did I Charge That?
     
  1. Report lost cards and suspected fraud right away.
    • If you lose your credit card or suspect fraudulent activity, contact your bank or credit card issuer immediately. With that notification, your card can be blocked and a new one will be sent.
    • According to the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), your liability for unauthorized use of your credit card tops out at $50 and many issuers waive that as long as you notify them promptly.

To report consumer fraud see number nine above. Or if you have a general consumer complaint, you may file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team.

Consumer Protection
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
517-335-7599
Fax: 517-241-3771
Toll free: 877-765-8388
Online complaint form
Your connection to consumer protection

Disclaimer