Three Ways to Outsmart Cybercriminals
September 21, 2023
Financial institutions work constantly to protect your credit and debit card information with security protections and upgrades. Unfortunately, cyberthieves work just as hard to find ways to steal your information. Here are a few things you can do to help keep your personal information private and keep the scammers and cybercriminals away.
Know who — and what — you’re dealing with
When you’re shopping online, make sure your internet connection is secure. Public Wi-Fi is convenient, but it’s also easier for thieves to steal your credit card information than if you use a private connection with more security. Same goes for public computers.
If you receive a fantastic deal from your favorite retailer or online site through an email or a social media link you didn’t ask for or aren’t familiar with, be wary. Fraudsters could be hard at work with these “phishing”, “smishing”, or “vishing” attempts, trying to get you to unwittingly give them your card info. Go to the retailer’s site yourself or contact the store to see if the sale or promotion is legitimate before making a purchase.
If you get a text you weren’t expecting or that doesn’t seem legit, don’t click on any links it might contain.
The bottom line is this: If you get an email, text, phone call or see a social media post with an offer that seems too good to be true, trust your instincts and don’t respond. And, never give out your credit card or other personal information unless absolutely necessary — and even then, only if you trust the source and their legitimacy can be verified.
Make things complicated for the thieves
Another way to protect your cards and help thwart cyberthieves is to create strong passwords by using a passphrase – a long phrase with numbers, symbols, and upper and lowercase letters that does not contain common words, number combinations, or names.
You also can load your cards into a digital wallet, storing your information and protecting it with enhanced security measures including scrambled user information and two-factor authentication.
Some other simple things you can do:
- Don’t let anyone use your card. Ever.
- Monitor your accounts and report anything suspicious immediately.
- Download those security updates for apps and your laptop, tempting as it may be to ignore them.
Ask your financial institution for help
Check with your financial institution to see what card protection tools and services are offered. These can include the ability to lock and unlock your credit or debit card to keep it secure if it is misplaced or suspicious transactions appear, and electronic notifications to help monitor your account transactions and catch and report any suspicious or unauthorized activity.
MSUFCU offers a variety of ways to protect your credit card information. CVVkey™ sends new and unique CVV codes for your VISA Credit Card to use while shopping online. Notifications about your card balance, transactions, and more can be set up through our eAlerts. And, our Card Lock feature allows you to lock or unlock your VISA Credit or Debit Card to help prevent fraudulent activity. Visit msufcu.org to learn more.