Living in the era of advanced technology and cashless culture, our lives have become a lot easier than before, especially with the rise of credit cards, we don’t even need to worry anymore about carrying dollar bills with us everywhere and risking them to fall off or get stolen.
However, there is one bad side of this and it is the rise of hacking and identity theft. Criminals are everywhere trying to use the money you have been working hard to earn it, and they would do it from the comfort of their homes. So if you are starting to get used to paying everything with your credit card, then you should slow down, understand the risks, and then use it wisely.
We have gathered a few reasons that can stop you from using your card in many places, both outside and inside your home. After all, it is your safety that matters the most.
1- Shopping from unsecured websites
We might have heard this many times before, but we still end up falling into the trap of purchasing items from websites that are not safe or secure. The result would be bad because we give out our card numbers, and therefore, we say goodbye to all of the money in our bank account.
So before you enter any digit, make sure that the website is safe. Make sure to Google it and see if it has a lock icon next to the URL. If not, then get away from there and seek that desired item from Amazon or another trusted site.
2- Self-checkout stations and gas pumps
The thing about these places is the fact that the credit card skimming devices can be there for months and no one would notice, which is why they are considered as sweet targets.
These machines can be small, not obvious to the customer, and extremely easy for thieves and criminals to install or retrieve in a few minutes.
So it is much better if you paid by cash in order to protect yourself and your personal information. Also, try not to pay with your credit card if you were in a long drive and you have to use a station in the middle of nowhere. That’s where the danger would happen the most.
3- Pay terminals and outdoor ATMS
We know that ATMs are extremely necessary and without them, we would basically have no money, but just make sure to use the ones that are out in the open, like in the corner store or sidewalks. In case you need to use, cover the PIN pad as you are writing down your information because you never know; there could be a camera installed nearby or someone lurking behind you.
Also, the pay terminals like fast-food drive-throughs are where criminals could install their hidden skimmer devices. It is the places we don’t expect to be dangerous are the ones we should be extremely careful from.
4- Mobile or Desktop applications
Applications and pop-ups on both your smartphone and computer are the easiest places to scam you. You need to make sure to never give your credit card info outside the app store or the official program.
For example, we all receive things like ‘You have a virus, pay $10’ or ‘unlock your encrypted files for $5’, etc. These are the ones we should ignore the most because no, you don’t have a virus and your files are completely fine.
Anything that pops up suddenly and out of nowhere should never be trusted, regardless of what they say or how to believe they might seem. If the website or the app is not trusted enough, just avoid it completely.
5- Cell phone charging stations
Having a dead battery when we need our phones the most is basically what we deal with almost every day, but at the airports, when you swipe your card in order to have access to the free charging stations is where you would be putting your information in danger.
These kiosks are known to be ripe for skimming and nefarious card-information storage. They also have been known to steal information from your smartphone as it charges. They call it juice packing. So if your phone died, try to be patient till you find a trusted place where you can charge your phone peacefully and without any worries.