Credit card protection: Safety tips & security features

Help protect yourself from credit card fraud with these best practices and features.

Credit card fraud ranked as the second most common type of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2020.

Fortunately, there are credit card safety tips and security features designed to help you protect yourself from fraud.

Credit card safety tips

When it comes to protecting yourself from credit card fraud, the FTC recommends following these credit card safety tips:

  • Keep a record of your account numbers and their expiration dates in a secure place in case you need them.
  • Don’t lend your card to anyone.
  • If a transaction requires you to hand over your card, watch for any suspicious behavior.
  • Save your receipts so you can compare them with your monthly statement.
  • Shred your old statements and receipts when you’re ready to get rid of them. The same goes for your expired cards too.
  • Don’t give your account information over the phone unless you’re sure the caller is who they say they are. And if you’re not sure, ask to call them back—it can give you some time to check.

The FTC also says you should also be on the lookout for phishing scams that ask you to:

  • Click links.
  • Open attachments.
  • Send money.
  • Share personal information.

Monitor your credit for free with CreditWise from Capital One

It’s always a good idea to regularly monitor your credit. And monitoring your credit reports and credit scores is another way you can help protect yourself from credit card fraud.

It could help you catch signs of fraud like:

  • Unauthorized changes to your credit reports. Examples could include things like new accounts or addresses that aren’t yours.
  • Big, unexplained drops in your credit scores.

One way to monitor your credit is with CreditWise from Capital One. CreditWise gives you access to your free TransUnion® credit report and weekly VantageScore® 3.0 credit score anytime—without hurting your score. CreditWise is free and available to everyone—even if you’re not a Capital One customer.1

You can also get free copies of your credit reports from Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion—the three major credit bureaus. Call 877-322-8228 or visit to learn more. Keep in mind that there may be a limit on how often you can get your reports. You can check the site for more details.

How your credit card can help you protect yourself from fraud

While you can take a number of steps to protect your credit card, many card issuers already have several protection features and benefits in place. And those safeguards go beyond basics like your personal identification number (PIN) and card verification value number, or CVV number.

Instant purchase notifications

Instant purchase notifications allow you to keep track of your spending in real time.

When you set up instant purchase notifications in the Capital One Mobile app, you can receive an alert any time a transaction is approved on your card.2 You can enable notifications that include the amount of the purchase and information about the merchant. You can even set up alerts to notify you about your balance and any recurring payments.

Fraud alerts

Card issuers constantly monitor accounts for potentially fraudulent activity by using complex technology to look for unusual spending patterns. And if any red flags are raised, your issuer can contact you about the charge or charges.

If you’re a Capital One customer, you can add your mobile phone number to your account to automatically get fraud alerts if Capital One notices suspicious activity on your account. Capital One will alert you by texting you from the same number every time. That way you’ll know the text isn’t coming from a fraudster.

If you don’t recognize the suspicious charge from the text message, respond “no.” Then Capital One can block your card from being used for additional charges. After that, you can contact customer service to get help requesting a replacement card with a new number. 

$0 liability for unauthorized charges

Under federal law, a card issuer can hold you responsible for up to $50 in fraudulent purchases before you report your card lost or stolen.

But some issuers—like Capital One—provide $0 liability for unauthorized charges.3 That means if your card is lost or stolen, you will not be responsible for charges you did not authorize.

Card lock

Many card issuers, including Capital One, let you “lock” your account if you suspect your card has been lost or stolen.

Capital One’s card lock feature is simple to use and takes just a few taps on the Capital One Mobile app. And if you find your card, you can unlock it just as easily to start using your card again.4

Paperless statements

Receive your monthly statements online to avoid having them get lost in or stolen from the mail.

Virtual card numbers

Virtual card numbers help keep your credit card account more secure when you’re shopping online.

Eno, your Capital One assistant, can create virtual card numbers when you check out online—allowing you to keep your actual card number under wraps. And virtual card numbers keep working even if you get a replacement card. There’s no need to manually update your card information on sites where you’ve stored a virtual card number—Eno will handle it behind the scenes automatically.5

Contactless cards

Using a contactless card is up to 10 times faster than swiping, inserting or using cash. And using a contactless card isn’t just fast—it’s secure too. In fact, contactless cards are just as secure as chip cards at a chip-enabled register. And they’re even more secure than magnetic stripe payments. 

That’s because each contactless transaction creates a unique, one-time code or password. This helps reduce security risks since the code can’t be used again—and it can be read only by the card-processing network. 

Many of Capital One’s U.S.-issued credit cards and debit cards now feature this technology. 

The importance of credit card safety and security

Unfortunately, credit card fraudsters are a constant reality. But you can do a lot to help shield yourself from credit card fraud. And many card issuers—like Capital One—already have several protection features and benefits in place.

But if you do become a victim of credit card fraud, you’re not out of luck: There’s a clear set of next steps to follow. And, if you report credit card fraud and freeze your credit, you might be able to reduce its financial and emotional impact.

1Your CreditWise score is calculated using the TransUnion® VantageScore® 3.0 model, which is one of many credit scoring models. It may not be the same model your lender uses, but it is an accurate measure of your credit health. The availability of the CreditWise tool depends on our ability to obtain your credit history from TransUnion. Some monitoring and alerts may not be available to you if the information you enter at enrollment does not match the information in your credit file at (or you do not have a file at) one or more consumer reporting agencies.

2Notifications must be enabled following the steps described to be received. While we will do our best to deliver notifications, please be aware that due to system issues or limitations with your technology or ours or other unforeseen circumstances, notifications may not be delivered as expected or intended and may be delayed. Please make sure you are checking your account regularly and not relying only on notifications.

3Claims of unauthorized use and liability for unauthorized charges are subject to investigation and verification.

4Some activity may continue, including returns, credits, payments, interest, dispute adjustments, other account fees, purchase transactions during system downtime and certain other exempted transactions.

5Eno looks out for free trials from select merchants. Eno is learning all the time and may not catch everything, including some free trials, subscriptions, renewals, and spending activity. Push, email, and SMS notifications must be enabled to be received. Eno service outages may occur. Capital One customers are responsible for regularly checking their account statements. Web access is needed to use mobile banking. Check with your service provider for details on specific fees and charges. 

Texting with Eno means you agree to chat about your account over SMS and receive recurring messages. Message and data rates may apply. Mobile phone carrier fees for text messages may apply.

Some or all Eno features may not be available to all Capital One customers, depending on the types of accounts held. For example, certain bank accounts are not eligible to text with Eno, and Eno email notifications, app notifications and virtual card numbers from Eno may not be available for certain credit cards.

The Eno browser extension for virtual card numbers is only available in certain web browsers, and enrollment is required. Virtual card numbers are not available for debit cards and some credit cards.

We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

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