Diamond strives to provide you with the tools to keep your financial information safe and secure, even in times when breaches of information are happening more often. You probably know the big ones – JPMorgan Chase, Target, Home Depot – but there have been other retailers whose customer payment information was compromised. All totaled, the ten largest breaches of 2014 affected more than 200 million credit and debit card holders.
But major retailer hacks are not the only way that credit or debit card fraud can occur, they are just the most publicized. Your account information can also be obtained illegally through a stolen or lost card, a computer virus, an email scam or an unethical store employee. Here are a few tips to help stay protected from potential fraud when you’re online.
This is your first line of defense against online credit and debit card fraud. If your computer does not have anti-virus software installed, it should not be used for online banking or online purchases. If you already have anti-virus software in place (good for you!), be sure you’re keeping up with the latest versions for the best protection.
In addition to anti-virus software, you should ensure you’re running the latest and greatest versions of all your computer programs. Online criminals look for weaknesses in common software platforms, so download updates whenever they are available.
Keep An Eye on your Accounts
The way that most people learn that their credit card or debit card has been compromised is through suspicious activity on their card or account. Review your credit card statements and financial account statements each month (or more often), looking for unfamiliar charges or withdrawals. You can also look into setting custom alerts to your online banking program to notify you each time an account activity occurs.
Passwords, Passwords, Passwords
It’s so automatic at this point, entering your username and password, you probably don’t give it much thought. But this isn’t the time to mindlessly enter a birthdate or nickname. Any online account that stores a record of your card information or account information should have a strong, secure password associated with it. This includes your online banking account, online shopping accounts, and any accounts tied to your mobile devices (iTunes, Google Play, etc).
- Strength in Numbers – And capital letters and symbols, too. Make sure your password has a combination of all three. It should also be no shorter than 6-8 characters.
- Don’t Use Just One – Of course, it’s much easier to only remember one password, but using the same one for all accounts is just not safe. If one single account is compromised, criminals now have the ability to access all others.
If you have additional questions or would like more information on how to protect your accounts, contact us to speak with a Financial Specialist.