Using your credit card will allow you to improve your credit score, but if it falls into the wrong hands, you could see your score drop. If your information is compromised, cyber criminals can open up new lines of credit under your name. This will affect your credit score, which could impact your chances of getting a home and finding new employment.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, of the 2 million consumer complaints it received in 2012, 18 percent of them dealt with identity theft. To help combat this problem, you should be aware of what you are using your card for. Here are a few other ways to protect your credit information online:
Use your card with the most protection
It is generally safer to use your credit card online as opposed to your debit card. This is because credit cards offer more protection plans and issuers will reimburse you in certain cases if your information is stolen or funds are used. It is offered for debit cards, but the process is quicker for credit cards. This safety net may provide you some level of relief, but it's still up to you to protect your information from being stolen in the first place.
Inspect your credit card agreements and see which ones provide you with the most protection. By using your most secure card for online transactions, you will be able to limit your online exposure and counteract fraud.
Log out of sites
Sometimes protecting your credit score is as easy as keeping your card number private. Safeguarding your physical card will prevent your numbers to be copied down, but it's important to take additional steps as well.
After you have made an online transaction or used your banking app, log out as soon as you are done. This goes for your phone, library computers and even your secure home computer. By logging out, your information will not stay connected to the network, which is one of the ways cyber criminals access your information. It may be a pain to reenter all of your information every time you visit a site, but taking a few extra seconds to complete this step will safeguard your information.
When you are browsing the Internet, you may get caught up in the goings on at a variety of different sites. Getting sucked into an Internet wormhole is very common, but if you do not pay attention to the online transactions you are making, you could buy something that is beyond your financial limit or get your card numbers stolen. Running up your balance can cause you to raise your credit utilization ratio, resulting in your credit score taking a hit.
To ensure you are not going above your financial limit, keep track of your purchases. Many retailers and other websites will send you a copy of your receipt to your email address. By having your receipts on file, you will be able to check your spending habits and make sure you are not using up your entire card balance.
Limit social media talking points
Social media can be a good outlet to express yourself and connect with old friends, but you should be careful not to divulge too much information. Sharing too much about yourself can lead to cyber criminals discovering more about you. This can then give them enough data to hack into your finances, which can end up damaging your credit score.
When it comes to communicating on social media sites, hold off on divulging any personal information. Address, birthday and even the name of your bank are red flags when it comes to discussions on these sites. By easing the amount you discuss on social media, you won't have to worry about thieves getting your information.