Credit-scoring giant FICO reports that credit card fraud is on a rapid rise, especially cases where stolen data is used to make purchases online or by phone. Most banks do not hold customers responsible for a fraudulent charge that is reported on time, but consumers can still take a few steps to protect themselves.
Consumers should check statements and credit card charges each month and contact the card company if there is a charge they do not recognize. People who use mobile banking on their phones should password-protect those phones, especially if they contain saved passwords and authorized automatic sign-ins at third-party sites. Phones are frequently lost or stolen, so phones, as well as iPads and office computers, should be password- or fingerprint-protected. Those passwords also should be varied, with financial accounts having different passwords from social-media accounts. Security software also should be used on computers and phones that are used to go to financial sites.
Consumers should beware of "spear phishing," a criminal trend in which crooks take personal information shared on social media and use it to send a personalized contact that urges them to sign-in on a malicious site. Consumers should never click on an unrecognized link, and never "sign in" to any account from a link sent via email or social media.