Is It Safe to Send Credit Card Numbers via Text Message?
In a world of social sharing, we often forget the vulnerabilities of technology. If a friend asks for the number on your credit card to make a purchase, you may be tempted to send the details quickly over text message. Doing this could put you at risk of identity fraud because you never know where that information will end up. In this guide, we will explain the right and wrong way to send credit card information via text message.
The Risk of Sharing Credit Card Numbers through Texts
There are several risks associated with sending credit card numbers through text messages. You do not have control over what the recipient does with your information once it has been sent. The recipient could screenshot the text or copy and paste it to another message, and then your information could go anywhere.
Malware is another concern. If your phone is hacked, the hacker will most likely have access to your messages. This puts your credit card number in the hands of a stranger, who could then sell it on the dark web. The same can be said about sending a picture of your credit card through a message. You have no control over where that photo goes once it leaves your phone.
Sending Credit Card Numbers Safely over Text Message
In theory, you could use a third-party service like KeeperChat to securely send credit card information through text messages. This service encrypts the text and requires multiple authentication steps to verify the recipient. In other words, you know your message is only going to be seen by your desired reader.
But even a seemingly secure messaging system can be compromised. That’s why data breaches are so prevalent today. One way to send a message is to disguise your credit card within a text message, if the recipient understands how the disguise works. An example: change the letters in certain words to match numbers in the credit card. Form sentences with these numbers until you have the full credit card number in the message. You could also act like you are sending a phone number, address, and other information to your friend, but the numeric digits are actually your credit card number. Neither of these options are ideal, but they are better than sending an obvious 16 digit number as a text message.
Payment Sharing Services—The Smarter Way to Pay
One of the most common reasons people share their credit card information via text message is because they are trying to split a payment for a large purchase. If you are in this situation, try using a payment sharing service before giving your card number to a friend. Some businesses, like AirBNB and Papa John’s have payment sharing systems integrated into their websites and applications. You can use those to split the bill without giving out your card details.
Another option is to send money to friends through a peer-to-peer transfer service. There are numerous P2P providers such as PayPal, Facebook Messenger, Venmo, Zelle, Apple Pay and Google Pay. Instead of giving a person your credit card details, offer to send them money through a P2P provider. This keeps your card number secure and gives you peace of mind for the transaction.
No matter how you send money, keep an eye on your credit or debit account after the transaction. Report any unauthorized purchases to your bank, and request a new card if necessary.