Staying Vigilant: 11 Signs Your Credit Card Has Been Hacked

Credit card fraud was the most common type of identity theft in 2023, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). With digital storage and transmission of information, hackers can use your credit card without physically stealing it. In fact, fraud on existing credit cards increased by 14% last year, reports the FTC. It's crucial to …

A semi-realistic cartoon-style illustration of a worried person with glasses sitting at a desk, looking at a computer screen displaying a warning message that says "Credit Card Hacked". The character is holding a credit card and a list titled "11 Signs". Around them are icons like a padlock, exclamation marks, and a magnifying glass, symbolizing security and vigilance. The character is dressed in casual clothes, appearing stressed but alert. The background shows a home office setting with a bulletin board and a window displaying a stormy sky, highlighting the urgency of the situation.

Credit card fraud was the most common type of identity theft in 2023, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). With digital storage and transmission of information, hackers can use your credit card without physically stealing it. In fact, fraud on existing credit cards increased by 14% last year, reports the FTC. It’s crucial to watch for signs that your credit card has been compromised to protect your account from further damage.

1. Strange Purchases Appear on Your Account:

If you notice unusual purchases on your credit card, this is often the first sign it has been hacked. Don’t wait for your billing statement; check your online transaction history regularly to catch any signs early. While some transactions may seem strange due to business names differing from the company you purchased from, remain skeptical. Verify any unrecognizable transactions with your past receipts and alert your financial institution immediately if something doesn’t match up.

2. Small, Unfamiliar Charges:

Small charges that you don’t recognize can be easy to overlook, but they often indicate your credit card information has been compromised. Hackers may make small purchases to test if the account is active. Once these small charges go through, they may proceed to make larger purchases.

3. Charges from Distant Locations:

Most of your purchases will likely be near where you live, unless you’re traveling. Charges appearing from places you haven’t visited are a clear sign your credit card information may be compromised.

4. Reduced Available Credit:

Regularly check your available credit to avoid exceeding your limit. If you find your available credit lower than expected, it could indicate unauthorized use. Review your recent and pending transactions for any anomalies.

5. Missing Mail or Statements:

Your credit card statements should arrive consistently each month. Missing a statement or other mail could mean a hacker has altered your mailing address to delay your discovery of unauthorized purchases. Confirm your address and review your statements online to catch any signs of fraud.

6. Verification Calls for Unknown Purchases:

Be wary of calls asking for personal or financial information. A call to verify a purchase might be a phishing attempt by a hacker trying to gather more details to use your credit card. They might already have your account number and seek your security code or billing ZIP code.

7. Unexpected Purchase Notifications:

Purchase notifications are helpful for tracking your spending in real time. Receiving a notification for something you didn’t buy is a strong indicator that your credit card number is being used fraudulently.

8. Your Card Gets Declined:

Banks monitor for fraudulent activity and may freeze your card if they detect suspicious transactions. This action protects you, the bank, and the retailer from further losses. Your card might also be declined if a thief has maxed out your limit.

9. Increase in Spam Calls or Emails:

An influx of spam calls or emails can follow a hacking incident, as hackers often sell your information. If you notice a sudden increase in spam, check your credit card transactions to ensure you haven’t been compromised.

10. Data Breach Notifications:

If a company you’ve used your credit card with reports a data breach, your card might be at risk. Contact your credit card issuer even if you haven’t seen fraudulent charges yet.

11. Changes to Your Account Information:

Updates to your phone number, email, or mailing address without your knowledge can signal unauthorized access to your account. Review your transaction history for any signs of fraud.

Immediate Steps if You Suspect Credit Card Fraud

Here are the best practices to secure your account if you suspect fraud:

  • Freeze Your Credit Card: Pause your card while you verify purchases. Also, check with any authorized users.
  • Contact Your Card Issuer: Report the fraud immediately if you confirm unauthorized purchases. They will issue a new card with a new number.
  • Dispute Unauthorized Charges: Inform your issuer about which charges were unauthorized. You’re usually liable for up to $50, but many issuers offer zero fraud liability, meaning you won’t pay for unauthorized transactions.
  • Change Your Passwords: Create new, secure passwords for compromised accounts and other sites where you’ve stored the card number or used the same password.

It may take 5-7 business days to receive a replacement card. Meanwhile, you might get a digital card for online purchases or to add to your mobile wallet. Update any automatic payments to avoid service interruptions or fees.

Enhancing Your Security

Many credit card issuers provide security features like purchase notifications, fraud alerts, card lock, and paperless statements. Log in to your account or contact customer service to activate these features.

Enroll in free credit monitoring with services like Smart Credit and ScoreSense to receive early alerts to changes in your credit. These alerts can help you respond swiftly to potential fraud or identity theft.

Stay alert for these 11 signs your credit card has been hacked to protect your financial security and respond effectively to any threats.

If you ever need expert assistance or guidance on your credit journey, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Nerds! Additionally, stay updated with the latest tips and information by following us on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok!

Eric Counts

Eric Counts

Eric Counts is the visionary entrepreneur behind CreditNerds.com, a leading name in the credit repair and business funding industry. With a passion for financial empowerment and a commitment to helping individuals and businesses achieve their financial goals, Eric has built CreditNerds.com into a trusted resource for credit repair and funding solutions.

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