We live in a consumer society, where technology has made making a purchase as easy as pressing a button or even just speaking your wish aloud to a device in your kitchen. As consumers, there are so many factors that we must constantly be aware of. Societal pressures of mindfulness, sustainability, and personal advocacy can weigh heavily on the mind. We can be so overwhelmed with options and external pressures that the ease of online shopping becomes a crutch. In this period of heightened online spending and credit card transactions, the risk of unauthorized activities and cyber fraud increases dramatically.
It is important to remember that a large part of being an informed consumer is keeping an eye on your credit card history. If you spend time and effort on ensuring your money is being spent wisely, why not ensure that it is by following up with your own records? Are we paying enough attention to our credit card statements to catch discrepancies that may occur? And how many of us are truly aware of the risks lurking behind our festive spending, and are we doing enough to protect our financial identity?
Luke Secrist, CEO of professional hacker team BuddoBot, speaks out on the importance of mindful consumerism. “Our increased spending makes it easy for unauthorized transactions to slip through unnoticed. Regularly checking your credit card statements can help you quickly identify and respond to any suspicious activity.” BuddoBot specializes in authentic offensive cybersecurity by emulating real-life attacks for their clients. Through their work, they have discovered just how important hypervigilant cybersecurity is for both individuals and companies.
Fraudulent charges are not only detrimental to your bank account, they can also be indicators of larger breaches of your data. If a hacker has access to your bank account they could also have access to your email, personal photos, and social security number. This is why early detection is crucial to maintaining personal security.
But what can we do if we discover fraudulent activity in our credit card statements? Through small steps of hypervigilance you will be able to catch it early and have the best chance of recovery. “If you do notice unusual activity, lock/freeze your card through your banking app so that no other purchases or withdrawals can be made, and immediately call the number on the back of your card,” says Secrist. “Also, keeping a pulse on your credit report is important to ensure your identity isn’t compromised through new or unknown accounts.” Secrist also suggests the importance of changing your passwords upon realization of fraudulent charges to protect yourself from further data breaches.
Regular observation of your credit card statements not only will keep you a more informed consumer when it comes to personal security, but it can also help you be a more active and informed consumer. If you know where your money goes, you can be more intent with your spending. Being an informed consumer is multi-faceted, and they all build on each other. You can choose to be an informed consumer and practice intentional spending from deciding where to place your purchases, following up on your bank statements, and using these statements to inform future purchases. You may notice when you do so that your spending frequency will decrease while you realize which online shops are worth the money. And in turn, you may notice that the frequency of purchases and likelihood of security breaches are directly correlated. While the many pressures of online shopping can be overwhelming, it’s important to remember to put yourself and your security first. By staying vigilant, monitoring credit actively, and heeding expert advice, we can ensure that we can shop securely and stress-free.