How to protect your digital identity with Capital One

Worried about being a victim of online fraud? Learn how Capital One helps make it easier to protect your identity and accounts.

In today’s connected, digital world, it may seem like thieves have more ways to attack data than ever before. It’s true that scammers continually look for opportunities to steal personal and financial information. Once they access this data, they might use it to open an account, make purchases or carry out other fraudulent activities. The mere thought of having your digital identity stolen—and the headache of dealing with the issues that follow—can be enough to keep anyone up at night. 

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help protect your digital identity and accounts online. Better yet, you don’t have to do it on your own. Capital One has tools in place that work to monitor account activity and alert you immediately of potential fraud. Using these security features can make it easier to stay safe when managing your finances online and help protect your digital identity.

How can I avoid being scammed online?

To keep your information protected, it can be helpful to understand the signs of common scams. Once you identify an online scheme, you can avoid getting involved and sharing personal data. Here are some steps to help avoid being scammed online: 

  • Be aware of phishing: In this scam, fraudsters will contact you and ask you to share personal information. They may pretend to be a trusted source, like the utility company, your bank or the IRS. Phishing attacks can take place through email messages or text messages or over the phone. Thieves might even try taking you to a phony website, where they will ask you to share personal information.
  • Play it smart with passwords: When creating a password, you’ll want to avoid simple words that could be easily guessed, such as the name of your pet. Strong passwords are longer and include a mix of characters with upper and lowercase letters and numbers. In addition, be watchful for online tricks that scammers use to snatch your password. For instance, thieves will often use social media as a way to ask for personal information. Be sure to keep your passwords secure.
  • Verify charities before donating: Thieves may pose as a charitable organization and ask you to make a contribution online. When you do so, they’ll steal your personal or account information. Before making a donation, you’ll want to research the organization. One way to do this is to carry out a search online using the name of the charity and additional words such as “fraud” or “scam.” 
  • Stay on top of trends: Scammers are constantly trying out different tricks to lure individuals into sharing personal and account information. They often use changing environments to launch new attacks. Since the onset of COVID-19, for instance, criminals have come up with many traps related to the pandemic in an attempt to steal data. 

How does Capital One help me avoid online fraud?

  • Virtual card numbers: With a virtual card number, you can disguise your actual card number when shopping online to help avoid scams. To use a virtual card number, you’ll need an eligible Capital One credit card (if you don’t have one, you can see which one might be a good fit). Then you can download the Eno browser extension. When you’re ready to make a purchase online, Eno creates a merchant-specific virtual card number that is linked to your Capital One credit card account.  
  • Contactless cards: Many of Capital One’s credit cards and debit cards are contactless. This means they have built-in technology so when you make a payment, you don’t have to swipe or insert your card. Instead, you can simply tap the card or hold it over a contactless-enabled card reader. For the transaction, a unique, one-time code or password is used. This reduces security risks because the code can only be read by the card-processing network, and the code can only be used once.  
  • Card lock: This feature instantly prevents your Capital One credit card from being used. You can lock the card yourself through the Capital One Mobile app. This can be especially helpful if you lose your card or believe it has been stolen. In the case of a lost card, if you find it, you can simply unlock the card with a few taps. Then you’ll be able to use the card again. 
  • CreditWise: This free tool is available to anyone. With CreditWise, you can check your credit score whenever you would like without having to worry about your score being impacted. By using this feature, you might be able to spot unexpected changes to your credit report. In addition, CreditWise scans the dark web and will send you an alert if it spots your Social Security number or email address there. 

How does Capital One help me resolve potential fraud?

If you have a Capital One account, there are tools that will watch out for any suspicious activity. When a transaction or event takes place that looks like it could be fraud, Capital One will work with you to handle the matter right away. In particular, you can expect:  

  • Fraud alerts: If you have a Capital One credit card, you can receive an alert if potential fraud is spotted. Capital One will reach out after detecting a suspicious charge to your account. You’ll be asked if you approved the charge. If you respond that you didn’t approve the charge, Capital One will block the card. This way, no other charges will be placed on the card. To receive fraud alerts, make sure your mobile phone number is in your account.  
  • Instant purchase notifications: If you have a Capital One credit card, you can set up instant purchase notifications. With this feature, you can stay informed by getting a message when a transaction takes place on your card. This gives you an opportunity to see when a purchase is made and review the amount to make sure it is what you expected.

To enable notifications in the Capital One Mobile app, follow these six steps:

  1. Tap on “Alerts & Notifications.”
  2. Select the card you want to set up alerts for.
  3. Tap on “Instant Purchase Notification.”
  4. Select your alert preference: push notifications, email or SMS.
  5. Choose a desired dollar amount minimum. (Tip: Choosing $0 is great for tracking almost all purchases.)
  6. Tap “Save,” and you’re all set!

What should I do if I believe I am a victim of fraud?

If you notice activity on your credit card or deposit account that doesn’t look correct, there are several actions to consider. You’ll want to evaluate the transaction and then take the necessary measures to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Here are some steps you can take in certain situations: 

  • Notify your card issuer about credit card fraud: If you spot a transaction on your monthly credit card account statement that you didn’t expect, contact the card issuer. 
  • Report paper check fraud: If you’re depositing a check that you received unexpectedly or from someone you don’t know, take a closer look at these Federal Trade Commission recommendations. Any request to send a portion of the money elsewhere on behalf of the sender in addition to any sense of urgency can be cause for concern. If the check appears to be fake and you’ve already deposited the check, contact your bank. You can also report the fraud using the steps recommended by the Federal Trade Commission. 

Getting your personal or financial information stolen may be a scary thought. With help from Capital One, however, you can gain confidence in your ability to identify fraud online and take action to resolve any issues right away. By doing so, your digital data will be right where it should be—safe and well protected.

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