Did you dine at Chili’s in March and April this year? If you did and paid through your credit card, your details might have been leaked in the latest data breach. Some Chili’s restaurants have been affected by a data breach due to unauthorized access.
Just when we think we’re safe from hackers, such incidents happen and make us realize that our financial information can be stolen and misused at any time. With such incidents becoming more common every day, we need to protect our credit and debit card information from such threats.
Keep Your Credit Cards Protected
It’s not just about Chili’s, your credit cards aren’t safe at several shopping places. We use credit cards everywhere and this is why card safety is an integral part of using them. While there is a lot you can do to protect your cards, it all starts with just a little carefulness.
Keeping your card protected at your own end is one thing. However, how should you keep your card protected from data breaches over big companies?
Chili’s Data Breach – A Strong Reminder
Chili’s data breach is another reminder, telling you to keep your credit card information safe. There have been many such attacks previously and there are chances of more such attacks in the future. Make sure you stay safe from hacking attempts on your financial data.
Make sure you always protect your credit card information. Here are some general rules to follow for credit card security.
1. Use A VPN When Shopping Online
Never access websites with suspicious links. You should never enter your credit card info on a non-trusted website. It’s a good idea to use a VPN to stay protected from hackers as well. VPNs encrypt your traffic to prevent hackers from stealing your data. Even if a hacker manages to intercept the network, they will be unable to read your data because it will be encrypted. Thus a VPN not only allows you to surf the web anonymously but also protects your sensitive information from identity thieves. Take a look at the best VPN services for shopping online.
Apart from these steps, clean up your device regularly and make sure that you have the latest anti-virus program and anti-malware installed on your device. Check these useful tips for safer online shopping as well.
2. Review the Fraud Protection Policy of Your Card
Does your credit card offer security against fraudulent transactions? Make sure you read the fraud protection policy of your card. If your card ever gets stolen, you’ll have at least some defense. While this is just the last line of defense, it’s still something.
It’s always best if your bank allows you to have no liability if your card gets stolen. When you apply for a new card, make sure you check their policies before you get the card. This way, you can be sure that you’re protected against scams.
3. Use Virtual Credit Cards
If you shop online, it’s best to use virtual credit cards. This is especially useful with unfamiliar websites. Virtual credit cards are disposable and you can select the number of transactions allowed on them. Once that number of transactions has been done, the card will become useless.
This way, even if a hacker gains control of the numbers on your virtual card, they won’t be able to make purchases. Virtual cards also come with fraud protection policies so make sure you read through them.
4. Use Gift Cards
There are some businesses (such as restaurants and retail stores) that get a lot of credit cards on a daily basis. These businesses are usually the prime targets for cyber fraud. If you visit a particular restaurant often or shop at a particular retail store, it’s a good idea to get a gift card for that store.
So if the store data gets breached, the hackers will get their hands on your gift card number instead of your credit card number. This will keep your card information safe and they’ll be able to steal just a couple of dollars that are on the gift card.
And that’s not all. When you buy a gift card, you might also get some reward points. This can mean bigger savings for you.
Some Other Ways to Keep your Cards Protected
Sign the card: When you get your card in the mail, make sure you sign the back of the card. This will ensure that the card is safe even if it gets in someone else’s hands. It’s best not to write down your PIN. But if you do write it down, make sure you store it in a different location than where you keep the card.
Keep the numbers private: The numbers on your credit card can help someone make unauthorized purchases from it. So keep the numbers private. Don’t show the credit card to strangers. Also, don’t share your credit card numbers on phone. Fraudulent parties might call you, pretending to be a bank agent but make sure you don’t reveal the numbers to anyone.
Don’t share the numbers on email as well. Criminals might try to get your credit card numbers by sending phishing emails. Don’t reveal your numbers to anyone, even if it seems like a genuine email.
Update your information: If you change your address or phone number, make sure you inform your bank or credit card company about it. If you move to a new place and don’t update your address, the new residents of that place can get hold of your data. This is why it’s extremely important to keep your personal details updated.
The same goes for your email address. If you change any contact information, your financial institution should be informed about that.
Check your receipts: Make sure you check the receipts against your monthly statements to make sure that everything’s perfect. If you think something doesn’t add up, it’s best to talk to the credit card company about it. It might take a little effort on your part – keeping your old receipts with you. But it will help you find a fraudulent activity if any.
Secure your data: If you have purchased something using your credit card and the servers of that company get hacked, there is little you can do about it. However, you can exercise some caution and protect the details stored on your device or sent through the network.
For that, it’s best to install a good firewall and antivirus on your system. Also, make sure you use a VPN so if anyone is trying to spy on your connection, they’re unable to get their hands on your information. You’ll find some more information on credit card protection here.
General caution can help you stay safe from fraudulent activities. If you exercise caution, you can stay protected. And if you still feel that a fraudulent transaction has been done from your account, make sure you report the incident to your bank or credit card issuing company.