Apr. 13th, 2021

COVID-19 Credit Card Safety Tips







By: Kristen Spence, MSA, CFE, Fraud & Litigation Team Manager, Hungerford Nichols CPAs + Advisors

Cyber Security continues to be a challenging area and one to keep attention on. We saw a significant increase in cyber fraud, real-time payment fraud and other monetary fraud schemes as a result of COVID-19 impacting economies world-wide in 2020. Frauds surrounding the digital exchange of funds are projected to continue to grow. Below are a few tips to help you stay safe and navigate these new waters during the ever-changing times.

  1. Hold a main credit card with a lower limit for everyday use. Depending on your weekly and monthly expenses an average example could be a card with a range of a $2,000-$4000 limit.  How to use?

a. In-store

b. Over the phone

It is always good to limit providing sensitive information verbally when possible. Written communication is best practice if available.

2. Have an online only credit card with a limit around $2000-$5000.

a. Online fraud scams are projected to continue future growth.

b. Fraudulent websites mimicking financial institution and retail store sites are prevalent.

3. Consider a safety credit card with a larger allowable limit.

a. Helps build credit if you do not use it largely.

b. Available for emergencies or charges larger than your main credit card if you need it.

c. Best practice: Limit balance to lower than 40% allowable limit.

4. If possible, limit use with debit cards and checks.

a. If a debit card or bank account becomes compromised it will take much longer to get your funds back.

b. A return of funds for a compromised credit card is usually within 7-10 business days or sooner depending on the financial institution.

c. Debit card fraud could take up to 2-3 months for return of stolen funds.

d. Check fraud/account break-in could cause a significant delay if even possible to getting compromised funds back.

By implementing a few easy steps as you financially move throughout your day, this could help prevent fraudsters from reaching your accounts, your identity and having an impact on your financial future.

STOP. THINK. OBSERVE. THEN ACT.                                                                                                                            

Contact our team at Hungerford Nichols CPAs + Advisors if you have questions.

email: kspence@hungerfordnichols.com
Phone: (616) 949-3200
Website: www.HungerfordNichols.com