Protecting Your Credit Card Number From Identity Theft

Of the many different types of identity theft, credit card theft is the most common and often the easiest to commit. Often, the criminal is able to make a realistic copy of the credit card, which will be accepted virtually everywhere without question. As a result, protecting your information and monitoring your credit report, is essential.

Keeping Your Credit Card Number Safe

While in many cases, the credit card information is obtained through no fault of the victim, such as a compromised credit card processing company, this is not always the case.

It is essential to never let the credit card out of your site whenever possible. Also, make sure that you have a valid number on file with your bank. Many banks have stepped up their fraud protection and will call if they detect abnormal charges or usage. It is also important to regularly and completely check your credit card statements, so that if fraud is occurring it can be quickly detected.

How the Bank Can Help Prevent Credit Card Fraud

Today, most banks have a number of anti-fraud programs in place. These programs are designed to analyze a persons credit card usage and warn the customer is something out of the ordinary occurs. For instance, many will call if a charge is made that is over a set limit, in a city not used by the customer, or if made in rapid succession.

Sometimes, these programs are opt-in or can be adjusted by the customer. For instance, you may be able to specify the limit at which will raise a red flag and result in a call for a bank. A quick succession of purchases of electronic items could also raise red flags.

These systems used by the bank are actually quite advanced and will actually learn how you use your credit card, allowing the system to more accurately detect fraud. This system, called a neural network discovers spending patterns and compares them with real time credit card usage.

Do Neural Networks Work

In many cases, neural networks are quite effective at detecting fraud. However, like any system, criminals try to find out how it works and to beat it. For instance, many criminals will attempt to guess or find out the floor limit of a store, which is the limit at which the store must manually seek credit card authorization. It is also not uncommon to see a spike in credit card fraud around the holidays, as criminals know that this is a time where many people make more big-ticket purchases.

Working with Retailers

It is also important to speak out when you see a retailer that is not handling security in a smart manner. This includes talking to the manger at restaurants that do their credit card processing away from the customer, as well as pushing for stores to check ID, physically examine the card, lower their floor limits.

Often, the retailers are reluctant to do these sorts of things, because they think it will delay the customer and make them less likely to use the store. However, as more people that take the time to point out insecure practices and make it known that they will not use the store if it continues to do so, credit card theft will become much more difficult to perpetrate. In many cases, credit card theft could be thwarted by a half-way alert cashier, but unfortunately this is seldom the case. Of course, this is not always the fault of the clerk, as it is often the way they are taught to handle transactions from management.

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