The convenience of saving your credit card information on your favorite sites is so appealing - no more scrambling for your card, no more hassle of having to enter all that information - especially when it comes to purchases made on your mobile device.
According to the Better Business Bureau, however, consumers must take into account the risks involved in storing their credit card info in order to protect themselves and their financial information.
This is an important consideration due to the increasing amount and variety of data theft over the past several years. The theft of personal information from medical insurance companies, restaurants and retailers has understandably made consumers wary about how their information is handled.
The BBB offers the following suggestions for protecting your stored credit card information:
You can say no. In most cases, merchants will ask if you'd like them to keep your number on file. You have the right to say no. If a merchant isn't clear about their policy, then ask about it.
Remove your credit card information. Some online merchants automatically store your credit card info without asking, so after you’ve made a purchase, log into your account and find the option to remove your payment information from a company’s files.
Stay safe when you’re out and about. Avoid making any transactions over a public Wi-Fi that does not require a password. Hackers can set up a fake network with a name similar to that of the store, coffee shop, retailer or library where free Wi-Fi is offered. If you connect to it, they can get into your files and steal your information. Ask for the name of the location's Wi-Fi network before connecting.
Use credit, not debit. Whether you use a debit or credit card, you are protected from any liability due to fraud. However, with a debit card, cybercriminals can empty your bank account after a data breach.
Keep a close watch on credit and bank statements. Be vigilant about scanning your statements for unusual or unauthorized charges. If anything looks suspicious, call your financial institution right away. In addition, check sites you usually visit to remove your debit or credit card information if you'd prefer to avoid the risks of a data breach.
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