Guarding your credit and personal information is more important now than ever. Cyber criminals are becoming more clever with how they steal your information, and if compromised, it can be detrimental to your finances. When your information is stolen , hackers can get into your bank accounts, drain your savings and open up new lines of credit. This can cause your credit score to take a massive hit, which can affect your finances as a whole. By understanding how thieves can get your credit information, you will have an easier time protecting it. Here are a few ways cyber criminals can get a hold of your information:
Heading into a convenience store, picking up a few items and quickly swiping your credit card can be a quick way to grab a few things, but you want to avoid using your card at any stand-alone ATMs. Thieves can place credit card skimming devices on unprotected ATMs. These will copy your credit information and use it for malicious purposes.
To protect your info, you should try to stay away from outdoor machines as much as possible. Those that are in stores or your bank are better protected thanks to employees and on-site cameras.
Self-service gas pumps
Filing up your gas tank while heading to work isn't something most people think twice about, but if you are not careful, you may get your information stolen. Like an outdoor ATM, thieves can use a card skimming machine at a gas pump to get your information. When you swipe your card to pay for your gas, the skimmer will read and copy your personal information. Next time you need a quick fill up, consider either paying with cash or your credit card inside where there is an employee present.
Using your credit card to purchase items from online retailers can help you avoid crowds at the mall or store, but cyber criminals can still get your information this way. Many major retailers have top-notch encryption protection when it comes to processing your credit card purchases, but many smaller sites do not have this luxury. If you are wary of a site's safety, check to see whether the web address is https://. This extra letter shows you that the site you are using is secured.
Keeping credit card information on file with a retailer is a convenient way to make a quick purchase from a site you frequent, but you should log out every time you make one. By leaving your information stored on the site, thieves will have an easier time accessing it, which can hurt your credit score.