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Consumer Watch: Protect yourself from credit card fraud

Convenience online has made financial information more vulnerable (KOKH).

Technology has made things easier, but it's also made everyone more vulnerable. According to data from creditcrads.com, the number of data breaches is up. There are steps you can take to protect yourself from credit card fraud.

Major data breaches put anyone with a credit card and the internet at risk. It's not a lost cause, though. You can limit your exposure, and it will only take a few seconds out of your day.

Whether you are online shopping for clothes or even just trying to order a pizza, people are constantly uploading their information online. It doesn’t disappear once you complete your order. Instead, the information sits there, and could be stolen. The Identity Theft Resource Center says its' data shows there were 1579 breaches in 2017 with nearly 179-million records exposed.

Tabatha Thurman, financial education specialist at WEOKIE Federal Credit Union, says a way to protect yourself, is to take a proactive approach and regularly check your accounts.

“One of the ways that consumers can take control of their credit cards is through apps. So, at WEOKIE we have an app called Secure Lock Equipt, and it allows our members to monitor their credit card. They can turn it on and off literally with the click of a button, “says Thurman.

The more quickly you see a problem the easier it is to fix. Also consider asking for alerts through a credit card app. Get texts sent to you any time the credit card is used to make sure you are aware of any changes to your account.

Don't be scared off responsibly using credit cards, but do ask about your cards protection policies.

“Often times the credit card companies and the financial institutions will actually have insurance to help protect you, “says Thurman.

If you travel, let your bank or credit card company know, so the cards don't become locked. Also, make a habit of only traveling with the cards you need.

“Don’t just leave your cards for department stores or other things that you don't use very often in your wallet, “recommends Thurman.

This will limit the possibility of you cards becoming lost or stolen.

It is also a good idea to regularly check your credit report to make sure no new accounts have been opened in your name that you don't know about.

Financial education specialists also recommend not saving your data on websites or apps to make the shopping experience faster. The more places you save your financial information the more vulnerable it is.

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