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INSIDER SECRET: You can request fraud alerts from credit bureaus like Experian and Transunion to help you stay on top of suspicious activity.
Credit card theft is staggeringly common. That’s because more and more criminals are learning how to pick your pocket without changing out of their pajamas.
Research of the dark web conducted by Sixgill found that 23 MILLION credit cards worldwide were stolen in the first half of 2019, 15 million of which were issued in the US. That’s upsetting, especially when no solution appears on the horizon.
So should you be worried?
Just about all of us have received fraud alert warnings in the past. Even our MMS Managing Editor Scott Lieberman has had his credit cards compromised. Twice his Chase Sapphire Preferred Card was stolen, and each time Chase Fraud Protection immediately canceled the fraudulent charges with no hassle. That’s one of the reasons he’s kept this card for so many years.
As long as you follow a few basic principles, you’ll prevail over the dark web maggots.
Credit Card Theft Is HIGH – Chase Fraud Protection and Similar Services Will Keep You Safe
I’ve received two fraud alerts in the past three month alone. That’s abnormally high, even for someone like me with nearly 20 open credit cards.
The problem is this: Unless you’re living in a remote cabin detached from the 21st century, you’re susceptible to some kind of online identity theft. Activities like online banking and swiping credit cards come with some risk. They’re just so unbelievably convenient that most of us are willing to roll the dice.
Scammers have invented lots of tricks to access your money, such as:
- Phishing – They’ll send you an email that appears very official, and request that you send them some kind of payment information
- Skimming – They place a device over a credit card machine (like an ATM or gas pump), and saves your payment information. Servers at restaurants and bars can easily use a skimmer when they take your payment info out of sight
- Distress call – Someone tried this on my gramma recently. She received a call from someone who claimed to be a lawyer, stating that one of her grandchildren was in jail and required money for bail
- Mail theft – If you’re not mindful, you may inadvertently trash sensitive information that thieves can use (think bank statements and the like)
When a criminal gets hold of your credit card information, he can sell it on the dark web (sometimes for as little as five dollars!). It’s often purchased by someone who will use it to buy products and resell them to make “clean” money. Hard to get justice for something like that. But you can take precautions to minimize your chances of falling victim!
Be Proactive Against Credit Card Theft With These 5 Steps
- Allow mobile banking alerts on your phone. The moment something fishy happens, you’ll know about it
- Check your credit card accounts and credit report regularly at myBankrate to see if there are any charges you don’t recall making or new accounts you didn’t open
- Don’t perform any mobile banking or purchases on public computers. Even banking on public Wi-Fi can be dangerous
- Read website reviews and be cautious if you intend to buy something from a site you’ve never heard of
- Request fraud alerts from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
Banks do miss things sometimes. But they’re extremely skilled in identifying fraudulent charges. I’ve received alerts from several banks about credit card fraud, and I’m always impressed.
One great thing we all love about Chase in particular is that you’ll ALWAYS speak with a human being when you call. No automated labyrinth to customer service. So if you’ve been alerted of a fraudulent charge, you’ll get it fixed immediately and smoothly.
I completely trust Chase Fraud Protection, which is a reason I don’t mind juggling six Chase credit cards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the one I drag around the world with me. I know if it becomes compromised, Chase will let me know immediately. It’s our #1 travel credit card recommendation for beginners.
If you’re looking for a card with no annual fee, the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited are excellent for earning rewards quickly. And you’ll get the same fraud protection as a super fancy card. I’ve also got both of these, and use them regularly.
I’d love to hear your experience with credit card fraud protection! And you can subscribe to our newsletter for more credit card info and travel tricks. No pressure.