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Protecting Yourself from Credit Card Data Breach

05 August 20226 mins read by Angel One
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We see new data breaches coming up in the media reports quite often. Looking at new breaches, these reports, and hacks it is clear that your sensitive financial and personal information isn’t safe, especially when it comes to credit cards. The volume of online transactions is very high since the ‘Digital India’ revolution, therefore so is the risk of Credit card data breaches.

Hackers can make money off any data that they steal, right from your date of birth, PAN details to your bank account numbers, and home address. Since the rise in data breaches is here to stay and there is not much you can do about the hackers attacking companies that hold your sensitive data, it is essential to be proactive about protecting your personal and credit card information. There are ways to minimize the loss and save yourself from such data breaches.

What is a data breach?

A data breach is when sensitive information of an organization’s database of customers or user information is accessed in an unauthorized manner. The data stolen could include sensitive credit card information such as credit card numbers, bank account details, customer data, and even publication of private data.

How can you protect yourself?

Get details on the breach and listen to the bank’s advice

A credit card data breach is a serious breach of data and the banks are responsible to disclose the details of such a breach to their cardholders. Along with this the banks usually issue the instructions to be followed and actions to be taken. One should go through the bank’s suggestions carefully and approach the bank’s customer care in case of queries.

Place a fraud alert

In case of a credit card data breach, one should immediately place a fraud alert on their credit cards with the credit agency. This would not put a complete lockdown on the credit profile but it would ensure that an extra step is taken by creditors or lenders to verify the cardholder every time before allowing new lines of credit to them.

Freeze your credit card

The hackers may want to use your sensitive information to generate new credit facilities in your name. It is important to reach out to the credit agencies immediately upon knowing about the data breach. If one is sure of completely locking down their credit reports a credit freeze ensures that no one can access your credit reports to open new accounts making it safer.

Notify your bank or credit card company of unauthorized transactions immediately

You must notify the bank or credit card company immediately if you notice any unauthorized transactions. Make sure to file an FIR at the nearest cyber-crime police station as well. You can furnish the mails or messages that you received to support your FIR.

Get a replacement card

In case you are a part of a data breach, immediately ask the credit agency to issue you a new credit card. This will lessen the risk of the details of the card being compromised in the credit card data breach.

Know your cardholder’s rights

There are certain clear guidelines on customer liability in place by the Reserve Bank of India which is the banking regulator in India in case of unauthorized online transactions. If the negligence is on behalf of the bank, the bank cannot penalize the customer and has to reverse the lost amount in the customer’s account within 10 days. However, if it is due to the negligence of the customer then the customer is held liable and will bear the loss. In case neither of them is responsible, the customer’s liability will depend upon the number of days after the customer has contacted the bank from the date of the breach.

Beware of phishing scams

Phishing scams are very common these days in the form of calls and messages sent on mobile phones and emails received asking for credit card details. Though the scammers may have your credit card number, they generally do not have the remaining information such as the credit card expiration date and the four-digit credit card verification value (CVV) number. Make sure that you do not give your personal information to anyone until you verify that the person is from the company. In the case of social media groups or unsolicited emails that look unusual, don’t click on any links or attachments. If a mail looks legitimate, call the company using the number provided on the actual company website to confirm that the offer is credible.

Set passwords smartly

It is crucial to use unique passwords for all different online accounts. Reusing passwords leads to scope for an extensive data breach across unrelated websites such as a shopping account and a banking account. If you find it difficult to remember a lot of passwords there are password manager apps that can help you maintain them and all you have to do is remember one master password.

Monitor your accounts online

One should check all their financial accounts on a line-by-line weekly or monthly basis. In case there has been a credit card data breach within any of these it is likely to get highlighted by proper monitoring. It might also help to notice breaches unrelated to credit cards. One can also avail to set up transaction alerts to stay in the loop across all accounts.

Use safer technologies to pay online

Many websites have a third-party payment processor such as Paypal or Alipay for online payments that ensures a secure payment gateway as compared to businesses that take direct credit card information. Though the payment processor might store your information, it is completely undisclosed to the business.

In the current scenario where data breaches are rising and changing rapidly, being proactive makes you less vulnerable to a credit card data breach. The data in such cases are time-sensitive so one should avoid any lag in reporting a credit card data breach to the correct authorities. Being alert and up-to-date about any new information and credit card updates will also keep a quick check to protect oneself from a credit card data breach.

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