Busting Some Consumer Safety Myths

December 12, 2014

When it comes to consumer safety, most people think they are pretty knowledgeable. If you have never been taken advantage of by a scam artist or fallen victim to identity theft, you might feel like your personal safety record is pretty strong. Sometimes what we do not understand about personal financial safety can actually make us potential victims. These are some of the most common myths regarding consumer safety, financial transactions, and payment card security. You owe it to yourself to learn the facts that are going to keep you and your family safe from criminals.

 

Myth: Credit Card Numbers Can Be Used as Personal Identification

This is false. Full credit card and debit card numbers should never be used to verify your identity to any vendor. Occasionally some merchants will use credit card information to secure payment, such as the payment for a hotel room, but this is not the same as verifying someone’s identification. If someone calls or emails you and asks for you to provide your entire credit card number in order to verify your identity, do not provide this information. This is a scam that many people fall for simply because they believe this particular myth.

Myth: I Will Not Be at Risk if I Only Purchase Items From Physical Stores

Some people believe that they can protect their financial information by simply not shopping online. While certain online financial scams do exist, buying items from trusted sources is actually quite secure. Several high profile data security breaches have taken place in just the last few years, many focused on physical brick and mortar store locations. There are certain vulnerabilities in place during virtually ever financial transaction, especially if payment cards are used. Though using cash exclusively can make transactions more secure, a person’s financial information is vulnerable at other times, too.

Myth: Credit Cards can Be Exploited Only if Stolen; They Are Safe so Long as They Are in Hand

Traditionally, a credit card could be assumed safe if its owner was aware of its location at all times. To a certain extent, this is still true. However, with the integration of new RFID chips into the payment card infrastructure, a new form of credit card theft has evolved. Thieves can potentially use specialized scanning devices to read the data contained on RFID-enabled payment cards. In fact, since RFID chips respond to proximity, you might not even notice someone accessing your card. This virtual pickpocketing is a crime that consumers everywhere need to be aware of.

Myth: RFID Chips Are Only Used in Payment Cards

Consumers need to be aware that RFID technology is being integrated into a range of consumer payment and identity products, including:

• Credit cards
• Debit cards
• Transit passes
• Office, apartment, and hotel key cards
• Gift cards
• Passports

There are actually a number of things you can do to protect your payment cards, including the ones with RFID chips in them. One of the most effective strategies is the use of a Stealth Card, a small item the same size as your payment cards. The Stealth Card disrupts the illegal scans and protects the information contained on your card. Getting one of these cards is going to help keep you safe and bust through the myths surrounding consumer safety.