One of the most convenient pieces of plastics in the world is a credit card. It can quickly pull you out of a financial jam but can easily land you in a worse position if you are not careful.
Continue reading to find out the 10 times you should never use your credit card.
10. On Your Phone
It may be convenient to give your credit card number to food vendors when ordering takeout, but it’s not safe. You don’t know who is on the other end of the phone listening to your conversation. If you’re in public reading your credit card number aloud, someone may be writing the information down to use later!
Rather than giving your card information to vendors on the phone when ordering food, it is best to order online or pay cash. It is also safe to use food delivery apps like GrubHub or DoorDash.
9. Charity Fundraisers on the Streets
It’s not unusual to see fundraising groups walking the streets, especially in big cities. They are always asking for monetary donations for different causes.
If you do decide to donate, it’s a big red flag when someone asks for your credit card number. These causes appeal to your emotion, and before you know it, they could hold your life in their hands.
Although they might be genuine, you never know for sure. It could very well be a scam. Your safest bet is to donate cash or through their website if it is secure.
8. The Website Does Not Begin With HTTPS
It’s the protocol for the five letters, HTTPS, to be in the website URL on which you are making a payment. No communication is secure on the internet without it.
The motivation here is to authenticate the website you are visiting and ensure your data’s privacy and protection. Be sure to double-check the URL and rest easy that that site is secure along with your credit card information. Even if the “s” is missing, it’s not secure!
ALL TIME TIP: It’s best to pay through a third party like PayPal.
7. Responding to Emails
Steven Lesavich, Ph.D., JD, credit card expert, says “phishing or spear-phishing” is when emails are designed to extract your credit card information for purchases you did not authorize.
Dr. Lesavich advises that before you click on any link in an email, seek out phishing clues like spelling mistakes. Also, check if the logo looks off or if there’s a strange use of the English language.
You can also hover without clicking to see if the URL appears. You then compare it outside of the email. If you notice anything suspicious, make your purchase from another site.
6. Online Merchants With No Reviews
As you consider buying from the different merchants on the various marketplaces, ensure they have multiple reviews and previous listings with consumer experiences before turning over your card.
Adam Jusko, founder, and CEO of creditcardcatelog.com, points out that the internet gives us a more effective way to gauge companies’ reputations, so grasp the opportunity.
Look for the contact information of merchants online that you buy from, so you can reach them if there are any issues. It’s important to pay close attention to contact numbers and addresses so that you can make sure they are legit.
5. Taking Your Card Out of View for Payment
It’s common for cashiers at restaurants and bars to take your card out of view for payment. However, it is best not to use your credit card in this situation, especially if you are not traveling overseas. You don’t know who will take pictures or write down your information.
During the 2016 Olympics, many patrons got their CCs cloned at restaurants. Don’t be afraid to ask merchants to give you payment options, and never let your card out of your sight. If you don’t have cash, use your debit card rather than credit to be safe.
4. While Using Public WiFi
If the internet connection is not secure when you make payments online, you could be at risk. With any wireless internet connection available to the public, password protection is a problem.
Your personal information is fair game for someone trying to break into the network and create mischief. Wait until you are connected to a private network.
ALL TIME TIP: Delete unknown WiFi connections from your system, so your personal data, password, credit cards, etc., are safe.
3. Purchasing on a Public Computer
Keep your credit card under lock and key if you are on a computer that is not yours. Public computers may have keyloggers — software that records all of your keystrokes.
The computer may also have malware designed to steal your information. You can never verify the security of a public computer, so don’t use your credit card while on it!
2. The POS Device Looks Odd
Point-of-sale devices can be tampered with to steal from you. Unscrupulous people can set them up to skim your card information. Although it can be hard to spot, try to pay attention next time you swipe that card.
You should alert law enforcement or the manager if you notice anything off with a payment device — things like exposed wires or bulky plastic are huge red flags.
1. Making a Payment You Can’t Afford
You hear it often — don’t go overboard on your credit card and pay up your balances at the end of each month. But do people listen? Not really.
The point is, use your credit card carefully to earn points and rewards, but stay within your budget. Only charge what you can repay comes month’s end. If you build up debt, you build up stress!