Did you know that you can use a “temporary” account number when using your credit card online? You can, and more consumers are using such numbers to better protect their personal financial identity while shopping online.
While statistics vary, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) pegs the amount of money lost through credit card fraud at $559 million in 2009 alone.
That’s where a temporary credit card number can help. Most card carriers offer such numbers, usually so consumers can shop more safely online. The Internet is a free-for-all for card scammers, with security gateways wide enough to drive a Zamboni through them.
To get a temporary card, just contact your bank or credit card carrier. They’ll generate a new, short-term number that’s tied to your credit card account. When you shop online, simply plug in the temporary number when completing the purchase. Cyber scammers who try to lift the umber will find, at best, that the number only works with the online retailer where you made your purchase.
Citi and Bank of America are among the big banks that offer temporary numbers.
Bank of America’s ShopSafe is a good example of how a temporary credit card number works for consumers. Here, direct from the bank’s web site, is a four-step process on how the program works:
Step #1: Shop online as you normally would
Step #2: When it’s time to check out, sign in to Online Banking and choose Use ShopSafe from your credit card Account Activity screen.
Step #3: Open ShopSafe and follow the steps to create your ShopSafe number.
Step #4: ShopSafe creates a temporary account number that allows you to purchase with confidence.
If you’re a regular online shopper, and you’re concerned about having your credit card compromised, a temporary number might be an option to consider. You can’t put a price on peace of mind, but if the FBI numbers are right, it’s worth at least $559 million dollars.
Image by Adrian Stewart (TinyAcornPhotography), via Flickr