A credit card offers great convenience; however if your personal or account information is lost or stolen, it can also be a source of endless aggravation. PrivacyWise™ is a reference guide that helps you:
It is important to understand the distinction between unauthorized use of your account (account takeover) and identity theft. Account takeover occurs when there are unauthorized charges on an account that you opened. Identity theft occurs when an account is opened under your name, without your authorization.
Always check for the browser's "lock" icon, but understand that this only signifies a secure communication channel, not necessarily the legitimate website of your card issuer.
Anti-virus and spyware protection software
Review your account activity periodically
Check your credit card account statements monthly for unauthorized activity. If you see activity that does not look familiar, notify your credit card issuer immediately.
Accessing your online credit card account
Access your credit card issuer's website by typing the URL in your browser address bar, rather than clicking links you might see in an email.
Always sign the back of your credit card instead of writing 'Check ID' or 'SEE ID'. Your signature signifies that you have accepted the terms of your credit card, without which your card may not be accepted by merchants.
Credit card information over the phone
It is not advisable to provide your credit card information over the phone, unless you have initiated the call and trust the party or retailer. It is also safer to use corded land line phones rather than cordless or cell phones, as these transmissions can potentially be intercepted.