Until a few years ago my credit card number had only been stolen once, about 15 years ago. But in the last two years it has been stolen four times. The first recent time was a few years ago in Hawaii, and the most recent was the Saturday before MLK Day (yay bank holidays.) I get a call from Visa about a fraudulent transaction and my card gets shut down immediately. I have to rely on only what is in my pocket until I can get to my bank or credit union, (very hard to do on vacation or on a weekend) and then rely on cash obtained only by visiting the bank (or, if I'm lucky, checks, if someone still accepts those) until a new card and PIN are mailed to me. It seems that increasingly, we are becoming more and more dependent on on these things that are apparently absurdly vulnerable, crippling us harder and more frequently when they fail.
The worst part is, I am fairly tech savvy, and I know how to avoid risks online. But outside of not shopping on sketchy websites or over unsecured connections, or wrapping my card in tin foil when I'm at the airport, I don't have a clue how to protect my credit/debit cards information, and the banks can't tell me anything. As far as I am aware, I am doing everything right! It's an increasingly frustrating problem. And I fear that as this problem increases in scope, the credit card companies will be less forgiving of losses but not more helpful with explaining how to be safe. I am more and more looking forward to ApplePay becoming more of a thing in the hopes that it replaces this godawful system with something safer and more reliable. But until I can throw away my Visa card, what can I do to protect myself that I'm not already doing?