Credit, Debit Card Security Tips for Consumers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

November 23, 2015

CONTACT:

Lynn Heider
503.350.2225
503.329.7208 (Mobile)

Credit, Debit Card Security Tips for Consumers

SeaTac, WA, Tigard, OR — With “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” on the horizon, the holiday shopping frenzy gets its traditional jumpstart this week. A survey by the Credit Union National Association and the Consumer Federation of America indicates 97% of Americans plan to buy gifts this season, and 60% of them plan to spend at least as much money as they did last year.

Millions of consumers will use their credit or debit cards for convenience. They can shop with confidence by following these simple security safety tips offered by Northwest credit unions:

In-store purchases:

  • EMV chip cards provide an extra layer of security when you buy on site (not online). Not all merchants have caught up with this technology trend. Ask the merchant if they have the chip system in place. If they don’t yet support it, use your card but continue to monitor your transactions daily.
  • Take advantage of your credit union’s online account monitoring services. Report any suspicious activity to your credit union immediately.
  • Be sure your card is returned following each purchase and that it is indeed your card.
  • Wait for the card receipt. Never leave it at the checkout counter; and keep receipts with you, not in your shopping bags.
  • Check your statements and watch for multiple or incorrect charges. Compare receipts to your account statements, and then destroy your receipts.
  • Report unauthorized transactions to your credit union immediately.
  • Keep a list of your card account numbers and telephone numbers to call if your cards are lost or stolen. Keep that list in a secure place.
  • Make sure you have signed your credit and debit cards. Do not write your PIN on the card!
  • When entering your PIN, block the keypad from the view of the cashier or other customers.
  • Know that your PIN can be stolen in other ways. There is a heat signature left on non-metal keypads for several minutes after you use it. Infrared cameras installed on Smartphones can be used to measure this heat signature and obtain your PIN. Stop this fraud by resting your fingers on other keys while typing in your PIN.
  • Running your card as credit rather than debit is another way of protecting your PIN.

Online Shopping: Use a Secure Internet Connection.

  • Do not use public wireless networks for online purchases.
  • Shop on sites with https:// in the URL, and be sure that an icon with a lock appears to the left. The “s” stands for “secure” and indicates communication with that site is encrypted.
  • Type the merchant’s address directly into your browser; avoid links.
  • Use complicated passwords with at least eight characters. Include numbers, special characters and upper and lower case numbers.
  • Keep the antivirus and security software updated on your computers and mobile devices.
  • We recommend that you don’t store your payment information. Many websites or apps let you store your credit and debit card information for convenience, but this might also be too convenient for thieves.
  • Do not respond to pop ups, and do not share card information via email or texts.
  • Set up payment and purchase alerts via text and email. If you notice suspicious activity, notify your credit union immediately.

By diligently following these safety precautions, consumers can shop with confidence and enjoy a happy holiday season free from fraud and identity theft. If you suspect your account has been compromised, contact your credit union immediately for assistance.

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The Northwest Credit Union Association is the not-for-profit trade association representing over 160 of Oregon and Washington’s credit unions. Northwest credit unions returned $352 million in direct financial benefits to their 5.2 million members last year. The NWCUA is the voice of the Northwest credit union movement, providing legislative, regulatory and public advocacy in addition to education, compliance, networking support and business solutions to credit unions. For information on how to join a credit union, please visit http://www.asmarterchoice.org.

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