8 Ways to Protect Your Credit and Debit Cards When Shopping Online


Fraudsters and scammers are always on the lookout for opportunities to deceive consumers. As cashless payments become part of the new normal, adding extra layers of security to your credit and debit card transactions will reduce the chances of being victims of these predators. Credit card fraud is inevitable, but you can take action now so it won’t happen to you.

This article will walk you through these eight practical tips on how to protect your credit and debit cards, including mobile devices, emails, and other personal information. If you frequently shop online, pay bills, and depend on online banking, note the following.

1. Check if your mobile number and email address were compromised

Over 500 million Facebook accounts were leaked online, and if you are using the same email address and mobile number for online banking, you might want to change them as soon as possible.

Visit Have I Been Pawned, and it will spit out information about a data breach that happened in the past, which is linked to your mobile number or email address.

2. Activate the Lock Card feature if you’re not using it

Some credit card issuers and banks offer a lock card feature on your account that lets you activate it via mobile or online banking. That said, you are in complete control of purchases because you need to deactivate that feature when you want to make transactions.

The lock card feature also protects you from fraudulent transactions because your account is locked. To get full access to this feature, ensure that your credit and debit cards have active online banking accounts.

3. Be aware of SIM card swap fraud

Fraudsters use a SIM card swap that gives them access to your personal information using your mobile number. They can do this in two ways — send a phishing email or send an email pretending they are a bank representative and ask for your personal information, including your mobile number. The other way is to call you and act as a telecom customer support agent that offers services and promos or upgrade to the latest gadgets with a new SIM card.

Once they get the information, they call the telecom provider and request to deactivate your mobile phone and asked for a new one, using your personal information. You will lose the signal once your mobile is deactivated, and the new SIM that’s now in the hand of the fraudster will receive the OTPs sent to the new mobile number.

4. Never disclose personal information on the internet and social media

Don’t get too excited about sharing personal information, even via screenshots or posts on your Daily Stories. Even if you are only sharing it with friends or having restricted privacy settings, you will never know how hackers can work around on accounts that could compromise your data.

Don’t use the same passwords on social media and online banking accounts. Try to use different email accounts for online banking and other financial transactions. Refrain from publishing the email address or even phone number you plan to use for SMS verifications.

5. Be smart enough to identify phishing emails

Be smart enough to identify phishing emails as a recipient. Usually, these fraudsters and hackers will send you emails and newsletters that mimic your bank’s promotional campaigns with call-to-action buttons. Check the email sender if it’s from your bank or financial institution to which you subscribed to. Most banks use corporate email addresses when sending newsletters.

If the sender uses Yahoo or Gmail account, that’s a red flag. Don’t click any link or button, as these will lead you to unsecured websites that look like your bank’s homepage. These fraudsters send messages about account suspension, exclusive promo, or notification that your account was hacked. Don’t fall into these traps, and you can also identify fake emails by checking the grammar of the email sent to you.

6. Activate your OTP for authentication

Activate the OTP notification whenever you logged in to your account, whether via mobile, desktop, or tablet. The OTP is sent to you via SMS, which is a code — usually 4 to 6 digit code that expires for a specific time. The mobile number you are using must be with you whenever you make transactions.

7. Subscribe to SMS and email notifications for transactions

In connection to the previous point, OTP authentications are sent as SMS, but you can also activate email notifications for transactions. For example, start your OTP authentication for your online purchases, debit card transactions, or even bank transactions and transfers.

It may be a bit cumbersome to receive these authentications and notifications, but these are added protection to ensure that you authorize every transaction. So better subscribe to SMS and email alerts to keep you in the loop.

8. Use Google Authentication (2FA) for your email address and other login credentials

Most email providers like Google, Yahoo!, and Hotmail offer added extra layers of security for your accounts by a two-step verification process. It’s using a one-time password algorithm to make sure you are the only one who can access your device and sign in successfully.

Unfortunately, not all banks and financial institutions in the Philippines support Google Authentication as of this time. Still, it’s helpful in safekeeping your email accounts linked to your credit cards and online banking accounts.

Final Thoughts

When making transactions online, be vigilant with the websites, emails, and promos you encounter. When you log on to your online banking accounts, the site should have the “https://” with a padlock icon in the URL bar, which means you are visiting a secured website.

We hope that these tips will help you become more aware of the schemes of fraudsters and hackers online.

Which of these do you think you need to be more intentional in making a habit of securing your cards and mobile banking accounts? Let us know in the comments below.