Protecting your credit card information from fraudsters is a job with many layers.
It’s a good idea to check your credit report and bank statements frequently, and you can prevent someone from applying for credit in your name by freezing your credit records.
(When you place a credit freeze on your credit reports, new creditors can’t review them to determine whether you’re eligible for a credit card or loan — and in turn, lenders are unlikely to grant credit to fraudsters posing as you. When you need to shop for credit, you can temporarily lift the freeze.)
For extra protection, you may want to start disguising your actual credit card number with a virtual number — especially if you plan to do most of your shopping online this holiday season.
Most Capital One and select Citi cards, as well as mobile wallets from Apple, Google and Samsung, offer this feature, which randomly generates virtual numbers that are linked to your credit card.
Capital One cardholders can protect online transactions by downloading and installing the browser extension Eno. When you are on a merchant’s checkout page, the extension pops up, you sign into your Capital One account, and Eno generates a merchant-specific virtual credit card number. (The numbers expire in five years.)
Citi members must log in to their credit card account and opt in to use a virtual credit card number. An update rolling out by the end of this year will let users generate one virtual number for multiple merchants.