Protecting your credit card information from fraudsters is a multi-layered job.
It’s a good idea to check your credit report and bank statements frequently, and you can prevent someone from applying for credit on your behalf by freezing your credit records.
(When you put a credit freeze on your credit reports, new creditors can’t review them to determine if you qualify for a credit card or a loan – and in turn, lenders are unlikely to grant credit to fraudsters pretending to be you. When you need to buy credit, you can temporarily lift the freeze.)
For added protection, you may want to start disguising your real credit card number with a virtual number, especially if you plan to do most of your shopping online during the holiday season.
Most Capital One cards and some Citi cards, as well as mobile wallets from Apple, Google, and Samsung, offer this feature, which randomly generates virtual numbers linked to your credit card.
Capital One cardholders can protect online transactions by downloading and installing the Eno browser extension. When you are on a merchant’s checkout page, the extension appears, you log into your Capital One account, and Eno generates a merchant-specific virtual credit card number. (The numbers expire in five years.)
Citi members must log into their credit card account and choose to use a virtual credit card number. An update rolled out by the end of this year will allow users to generate a virtual number for multiple merchants.