Take Credit Card Security Into Your Own Hands

Posted on March 26, 2014 at 6:00 am


You’ve probably heard about instances of unauthorized access to payment card data at some stores in recent weeks, including Target stores nationwide and Inland Northwest grocery stores, including Rosauers Supermarkets, Yoke’s Fresh Market, Super 1 Foods, Trading Co. Stores, and some others.

In both instances, the merchants and their card processors have taken steps to ensure that it’s safe to use your cards at those stores. Financial institutions, including STCU, also are taking steps, including replacing any credit or debit cards that might possibly have been compromised.

But there’s more you should do to protect yourself, anytime you use shop with cards. Here are nine practical steps you can take to protect against card fraud and to spot it when it happens:

  1. Check your account statement regularly and immediately report any transactions that you don’t recognize.
  2. Avoid obvious PINs, such as a birth date, any year, the last four digits of your Social Security or phone number.
  3. Do not write down your PIN in an obvious place. Often, when fraud occurs with debit cards, the cardholder has written the PIN on the card itself.
  4. Match your credit card receipts against monthly bills to make sure there are no unauthorized charges.
  5. Destroy all receipts before discarding them since some may have your card number printed on them.
  6. Guard your card. Don’t use it as collateral or give out your card number over the phone, unless you initiated the call for a purchase.
  7. Check your credit report at least annually to ensure its accuracy.
  8. Attend a STCU free community workshop on preventing fraud and identity theft. They’re often hosted by Spokane County Library District.
  9. Notify your financial institution before you travel, so we know it’s really you buying gas in Tacoma, Tallahassee, or Tokyo, not some fraudster.