4 common myths about the security of your credit cards

By UK CreditCards.com

How secure are your credit cards?

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Credit card fraud is a serious risk for any cardholder. If you don't use your credit cards carefully and securely, you could be defrauded out of hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds. Many Brits don't realize that they are using their cards incorrectly and, as a result, they continue to put themselves at risk. 

However, it's possible to protect yourself. Here are four popular -- and potentially dangerous -- myths about keeping your credit cards secure.

Myth #1: "Keeping my PIN safe means my credit cards can't be used fraudulently."
Even though a thief needs your PIN to steal cash from an ATM, they can still fraudulently use your credit cards without it. They can rack up huge bills on your credit cards by either forging your signature in stores or by using your credit cards for online or telephone based transactions.

Myth #2: "Recycling credit card statements is safer than throwing them in the trash bin."
Recycling the statements from your credit cards can potentially be worse than throwing them away because recycling is often hand sorted.

Statements contain important personal details and information about your credit cards. Consequently, they should be shredded and disposed of confidentially, not simply thrown in a bin. 

Myth #3: "Online purchases are 100% safe"
Even though many websites now use advanced encryption software, internet shopping is not 100% safe. Always make sure that a website offers a high level of security before you enter your card information.

And, if you receive emails advertising the best credit card offers and inviting you to click a link, be very careful. Unsolicited or ‘phishing' emails are often scams to obtain your personal information.

Myth #4: "Card providers automatically spot fraudulent transactions on credit cards"
Whilst the best credit card offers will tempt you with a promotional interest rate, many will also offer the benefit of advanced card security. These sophisticated card monitoring systems are designed to spot unusual transactions on your credit cards and flag potentially fraudulent use.

Whilst these systems will help you avoid fraud on your credit cards, they will not pick out every single fraudulent transaction. You still need to check your statements carefully to make sure there are no unusual transactions.

See related: 3 easy ways to prevent credit card fraud; Fraud figures show need for credit card security

Published: 25 March 2011