Visa (NYSE: V) marks National Cyber Security Awareness Month with the launch of a new website to help cardholders and small businesses protect payment card account information, avoid payment card scams and resolve unauthorized use of their cards.
Visa is providing cardholders tips with practical know-how for protecting account information, avoiding payment card scams, and resolving unauthorized card use. Visa's new website, at visasecuritysense.com, is available in English and Spanish. Visa also joins the National Cyber Security Alliance's "Stop. Think. Connect." campaign to educate consumers about protecting themselves and their personal information online.
"While cardholders using Visa debit and credit cards are protected by Visa's zero liability policy(1), many consumers believe that security is a shared responsibility and want to take an active role in managing and protecting their Visa accounts," said Jennifer Fischer, head of U.S. Payment System Risk, Visa Inc. "Visa's site is intended to empower cardholders with information to prevent fraud, avoid deceptive marketing practices and learn about important protections and resources available to them."
A study by Javelin Strategy & Research found more than half of consumers view the responsibility for protecting financial accounts from fraud as shared between themselves and their financial institution.(2)
Consumer Tips on How to Stay Safe Online
While the vast majority of Internet shopping purchases go through safely, consumers face hazards ranging from spyware to deceptive marketing practices. Consumers can learn basic tips about navigating the internet safely by visiting the National Cyber Security Alliance's website at staysafeonline.org. When it comes to protecting financial information online, Visa offers a few additional tips. More information is available at visasecuritysense.com.
* Keep current with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, download only from trusted sites, and don't click pop-up windows or suspicious links in emails, even from people you know. These can all be tricks to install spyware and steal financial information.
* When using a website's checkout, look for the safety symbols such as the padlock icon in the browser's status bar and "s" after "http" in the URL, or the words "Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)." These are signs that the merchant is using a secure page for transmitting personal information.
* Activate Verified by Visa to add an extra layer of password protection during online checkout.
* Remember that Visa never calls or writes cardholders for personal account information.
* Do not provide sensitive information unless you initiated the communication. Report requests for personal information to your card issuer by calling the number on the back of your card
* Be wary of "free trial" offers. Take time to read and understand all terms and conditions. Pay particular attention to any pre-checked boxes before you submit your payment card information for an order. Failing to un-check the boxes may bind you to terms and conditions you're not interested in.
* Finally, monitor card statements or account activity regularly and report any suspicious or unauthorized charges to the financial institution that issued the card. When fraud does occur, Visa cardholders are protected from unauthorized purchases with a "zero liability" policy.
In addition to educational resources for consumers, Visa makes its transaction alerts and notification service available through participating financial institutions. Alerts are sent on behalf of issuers to cardholders directly from Visa's global processing network, typically within seconds of a transaction occurring. Alerts are triggered when the transaction meets certain criteria the account holder has selected and are delivered directly to the account holder via email or SMS text message. Visa's transaction alerts let consumers monitor their accounts for unusual activity and take immediate action if they believe a potentially fraudulent transaction is taking place.
"Criminals can be quite resourceful in their attempts to steal cardholder information, but equipped with the right information and tools, consumers can be very effective in preventing fraud," Fischer concluded."