Shopping online can be much more convenient than hitting the mall, but did you know that without a temporary credit card number, you may be setting yourself up to become a victim of identity theft? When used as an added measure of security, temporary numbers can make it harder for criminals to snag your financial information for their own gain.
So, before you fill your virtual shopping cart, find out how using temporary credit card numbers can help prevent identity theft the next time you check out.
What are Temporary Credit Card Numbers?A number of major credit card issuers in the United States offer controlled payment numbers, also known as temporary numbers or virtual numbers, in lieu of using your real credit card number when shopping online. These unique numbers are tied to your legitimate bank or credit card account while masking your true account number. Temporary numbers can be used when shopping online or paying bills.
Where do I Obtain Virtual Numbers?To start using temporary or virtual account numbers, simply contact your bank or credit card lender or search your account’s website when you log in. Some banks and lenders even offer a software download that lets you create a virtual number each time you need it, directly from your computer. A 16-digit number with limited use and/or quick expiration can help you shop online safely and keep identity thieves at bay.
How do Temporary Numbers Protect Me?You are limiting the damage a criminal can do with your temporary number by masking your real credit card data from online hackers. Some virtual numbers let you determine the terms of your temporary account, such the expiration of the acting account number, while others also limit usage to one website or number of transactions. Using a unique temporary credit card number can also help pinpoint the source of the fraud, since identity thieves trying to use the number may be limited in their use.
When shopping with a virtual number, remember to keep the receipt for easy returns. Merchants may have difficulty refunding your purchase to an expired temporary number, so providing an invoice or receipt can make the task easier.
The benefits of shopping safely online with temporary credit card numbers outweigh the inconvenience, so you can reduce the damage identity theft can have by making purchases with this fraud-fighting option. Regardless of how careful you are with your personal information, be sure to learn how to check your credit for identity theft regularly to protect yourself from fraudsters.
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. © 2013 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.