With the average American spending 24 hours a week online, internet safety is more important than ever. A hacked or compromised computer can put you at risk for money loss, phishing scams or even complete identity theft.
What is a skimming device?
When it comes to protecting your identity and personal information, you can never be too careful. Thieves are placing realistic looking overlays on top of actual card readers so that when you swipe your card, both the skimming device and merchant terminal are reading your card information. They often use hidden cameras, laptops, or cell phones to record the PIN. The criminals usually leave the devices on the machines for short periods of time and then pry the device off and use the recorded information to create fake debit or credit cards, withdrawing thousands of dollars from accounts. You are vulnerable wherever you use your plastic cards. Catholic Federal Credit Union members are not liable for fraudulent transactions on their accounts.
How Do You Protect Yourself?
- Inspect the card reader before inserting your card. Since skimmers are usually only on the machines for a matter of hours, they are often loosely attached. If there are loose parts, scratches, or something doesn’t seem right, DO NOT use the machine. Contact the financial institution right away, as well as law enforcement.
- Cover the keypad as you enter your personal information number and complete your transaction.
Q: I've had a financial emergency and I don't know how to pay for it! What are my options?
A: Ideally, you'll want to have an emergency fund in place. If you don't, consider these options...
1.) Credit cards
Credit cards are super-convenient. You don't have to wait for approval, take on another source of debt, or even think about paying it back until later. Borrowing with a credit card, though, means getting more than you bargained for. With high interest rates, you'll end up owing a lot more money than you borrowed.
Also, credit cards make it easy to push off paying what you owe by only requiring a minimum monthly payment. This means you'll end up carrying that debt for a lot longer than planned.
Want to avoid long lines and large crowds this Christmas season? Shopping online lets you zip through your list with just a few clicks.
Before whipping out your plastic, however, you'll want to make sure you're shopping on a secure site. Use these tips to keep your data safe.