These days, it is surprisingly easy for hackers and thieves to steal our credit card information. There have actually been instances in which people have stolen credit card information by simply walking by and using machines to scan the victim’s wallet. Other examples are possible theft at restaurants when your card is taken by the waitress to pay your tab, or using a skimmer at a gas station to replace the real machine and record your credit card data whenever you swipe your card.

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Although these are very easy ways for people to steal your information in broad daylight or right in front of your face, there are also ways for your to protect your information – and they’re also fairly easy. To help protect against identity theft, all it takes is a little attention to detail and thinking twice before each swipe.

Pay Attention

Places we use our cards most often, like ATMs, can sometimes be tampered with by criminals. The most common way they choose to steal your information is by using an overlay, which is a small machine that is placed over the real card reader to copy your card’s information without you knowing any different.

A good way to avoid this form of identity theft is to check out the card reader. Giving it a tug or two also helps, as usually the overlay is stuck to the reader using cheap glue or double-sided tape. Giving it a pull will most likely remove it pretty easily.

Use an RF Shielding Wallet

Radio frequency identification, also known as RFID, has recently become a popular way for criminals to steal your card’s information. RFID uses electromagnetic fields to read tags attached to certain objects.

In your credit card, these tags exist and they hold all of your personal information. Hackers use RFID machines to scan and copy this information by just walking by or standing near you. Radio frequency-shielding wallets from manufacturers like Identity Stronghold are available to keep your information from being scanned.

Use Geolocation

Every bank or financial institution has a way of locating your card wherever it is. That is how most fraud is detected – either by buying something out of the ordinary or by using your card in a place you’ve never been.

Simply requesting that your bank keep a closer eye on your card’s activity and location is a great way to keep your information secure and to get in front of identity theft if it happens to you.

Watch Your Account

As often as we use our cards (everyday, sometimes multiple times per day), we don’t monitor it as much as we should. With banking apps and smartphone notifications that alert us whenever we spend a few bucks, the old-fashioned way of logging into your account online seems almost obsolete.

By using your bank’s online account services, though, you are able to view more details about your account and watch it more closely. Accessing your account this way is also much safer.

Smartphones, operating systems and even apps can easily be hacked by thieves, which can expose your personal or banking information, whereas online banking has many more security barriers for hackers to get through.

We all love the feeling of swiping our credit or debit card at the register. It’s quick, easy, and honestly it feels like we’re not really spending money because it’s just a piece of plastic that we carry around in our wallet. With advances in technology – both good and bad – we must make sure that we are protecting ourselves from being vulnerable to hacking or identity theft.

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