Research: A little healthy paranoia helps limit credit card fraud

By , CardRatings contributor
  • Google +
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

More consumers complain to the Federal Trade Commission about identity theft than about anything else, according to FTC statistics. To kick off Cyber Security Awareness Month, Experian's ProtectMyID hired StrategyOne Research to learn more about how Americans leave themselves vulnerable to fraudulent credit card charges and other forms of financial fraud. Their results highlight four critical steps that consumers can take to secure their financial information:

  • Require passwords for mobile devices. Experian's survey found that more than half of respondents left phones and laptops unlocked, making personal data available to thieves. Requiring a pass code or a password upon startup prevents a stolen phone or computer from turning into a case of identity theft.
  • Restrict personal information on social networking websites. Nearly two-thirds of respondents in Experian's survey posted their full birth dates on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or other online services. Yet, many credit card issuers still use date of birth as a security identifier for updating account information. Identity theft expert Chuck Whitlock suggests that consumers think twice before sharing personal information beyond close family and friends.
  • Dedicate a single credit card for restaurant purchases. New York City police recently busted a ring of over 100 credit card "skimmers" who used stolen credit cards to purchase expensive computers and gadgets for resale overseas. Police allege that key members of the organization recruited restaurant workers to copy credit cards while out of patrons' sight. Police investigators say that using a dedicated account, like a specific rewards credit card, limits your exposure to this widespread scam.
  • Activate tougher security tools. When online security expert Ron Bowes compiled a list of passwords revealed during major hacking attacks, even he wasn't prepared for the number of people who used the number "123456" or the word "password" to secure their credit card accounts. Bowes told Forbes that he suggests consumers use credit card companies that deploy multi-factor authentication, like a Bank of America service that sends a text message to a cardholder's mobile phone before authorizing account changes.

ProtectMyID and other identity theft detection services monitor credit reports for signs of unauthorized account abuse. However, NYPD investigators note that most consumers can enable text message alerts for credit card activity, signaling stolen credit card usage in real time.

0 Responses to "Research: A little healthy paranoia helps limit credit card fraud"

No Comments

Leave a Comment
About Our Ratings ×

Our editors rate credit cards objectively based on the features the credit card offers consumers, the fees and interest rates, and how a credit card compares with other cards in its category. Ratings vary by category, and the same card may receive a certain number of stars in one category and a higher or lower number in another.

The ratings are the expert opinion of our editors, and not influenced by any remuneration this site may receive from card issuers.

Advertisers in our database are highlighted, and advertisements include an option to apply using links on our site. CardRatings.com may be compensated by companies mentioned on the site when a user's application is accepted or approved by such companies.

How do your cards stack up?

Compare your card starting here


Featured Partner Cards