Woman holding credit card.

Top credit card cautions for 5 critical places

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Credit card convenience doesn’t have to come at a high cost. Here are simple and strong security steps to start putting into practice at the following 5 key places.

1. On the web.

Internet security has come a long way, but the web is still one of the riskiest places when it comes to credit card security. Shop safer by:

  • • Seeing the signs. Before you enter your card number into a site, look for the “https” at the top of the page.
  • • Skipping storage. Consider storing your card information only in your most trusted and frequently-used sites.
  • • Avoiding social media add-on apps. Be careful with games, quizzes and other web apps asking for your credit card data. These may link you to locations lacking the security of the social media site they came from.

2. In your wallet.

Pickpocketing is passé. The real risk may come from “clickpocketing,” a newer variation where thieves use handheld scanners to charge your contactless-payment-enabled card when you’re not looking. Stay alert, especially in crowded areas, and consider investing in a screened wallet.

3. At the pump.

Credit card skimming remains a real risk at gas stations. Before you slide your card, take a minute to inspect the reader. If it looks out of place or feels loose, play it safe and pay inside.

4. At the register.

If you’re checking out and you’re not at a self-serve terminal (see “3. At the pump” above), make it a habit to watch the cashier throughout the entire transaction. Most cashiers are pleasant, honest and just doing their job, but you never know when you’ll encounter a bad apple. A skilled thief can swipe your card’s information in the blink of an eye.

5. On the card

Sign the back. Though it may seem like card signatures are never compared against ID signatures, signing your card does add an extra layer of security in exchange for a whole extra second of your time. Plus, many merchants still won’t accept a card without a signature on the back, even if an ID seems to corroborate the name on the card

Whether it’s cash or credit, payment transactions always carry some risk. But by putting the above credit card precautions into practice, you’re doing what you can to keep your payment information safe — wherever your buying needs take you.

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