The Common Credit Card Mistake That Might Boost Your Risk of Fraud

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With the click of a button, tens of millions of Americans are increasing their odds of becoming a victim of fraud.

It’s the “save” button that gives a retailer permission to store your credit card information on its website for your future e-shopping trips.

Two out of every three online shoppers — which equates to 94 million Americans — have stored their card info on at least one website or app, a new CreditCards.com report shows. And 14 million Americans always save their card info.

These findings are based on a national survey of just over 1,000 adults who live in the U.S.

The survey also found that members of the Silent Generation, meaning folks born between 1925 and 1945, are more likely to save credit card info online compared with younger generations.

Possible explanations that CreditCards.com cites include that the Silent Generation tends to be more trusting than younger Americans and that it’s often more challenging for seniors to remember their credit card numbers or get up and find their wallet.

But the convenience of storing credit card info online has a trade-off. As Alex Johnson, a spokesperson for credit-scoring company Fair Isaac Corp., or FICO, tells CreditCards.com:

“The more you store your payment info in a variety of places, the greater your odds of being a victim of fraud.”

5 tips for safer online shopping

Even if you’re among the 94 million Americans who have stored their credit card information online, it’s possible to reduce your odds of becoming a victim of online fraud. For example:

  1. Limit the number of websites on which you store card info. For example, store it only on reputable sites, which tend to offer more security. For help determining whether a site is safe, check out “5 Free Tools That Identify Secure Websites.”
  2. Enable two-step verification. To learn more about this security feature, check out “6 Sites That Offer Shoppers an Added Layer of Security.”
  3. Only store credit card info — never debit card info. As we explain in further detail in “7 Ways to Guard Your Wallet — and Identity — When Shopping Online,” credit and debit transactions are treated differently under certain federal laws.
  4. Monitor your credit card statements regularly. This is key to catching any unauthorized transactions as soon as they happen so you can act on them immediately.
  5. Be wary of sharing your computer. CreditCards.com notes that if you save your credit card info online, anyone who accesses your computer — including teenage children or grandchildren — could potentially make an online purchase on your card.

How do you feel about storing credit card information online? Let us know below or on our Facebook page.

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