Sometimes it takes a grand and sweeping gesture to protect ourselves or change our lives for the better. Other times, it’s the smaller things that have the biggest impact.
In the case of credit card fraud, it’s the little things that can keep you safe. The hard truth is that credit card fraud and identity theft are dishearteningly common. The good news is that there are a number of things you can do to help preserve your financial well-being, not to mention your sanity.
How Big Is the Problem?
America holds the dubious honor of being the country with the second-highest rate of credit card fraud, second only to Mexico. India rounds out the top three, despite its astronomically higher population of 1.25 billion. That America holds down a place in the top three, with a population of a ‘mere’ 316 million, is more than a little alarming.
What Does Credit Card Fraud Cost?
If you should be unlucky enough to be a victim of credit card fraud, how things play out for you is determined by a number of factors, including the severity of the data breach and your choice of financial institution. In about 51% of credit fraud cases in the US, the victim had no out-of-pocket expenses; the fraudulent charges were reimbursed, and their credit score didn’t suffer any long-term setbacks. However, the other 49% didn’t fare quite as well, with expenses ranging from $1 up to $5,000 and beyond. The most common amounts paid are in the $501-$5,000 range.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
With an alarming number of consumer data breaches happening on a regular basis, you’re probably wondering if there’s anything you can do to protect yourself over the course of an average day. Thankfully, this infographic should give you an idea of what kinds of risky behavior you can avoid in order to reduce your chances of being targeted.
I won’t spoil them for you here, but I will say that if you’re among the thousands of Americans that carries your debit card PIN number around in your wallet, you’ll want to stop that practice immediately.
The bottom line is that it’s time to stop thinking of our financial well-being as something that’s beyond our control. When preventing credit card fraud is as simple as changing one or two minor habits, taking the time to protect ourselves is simply a no-brainer.