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Protecting Yourself Against Credit Card Fraud

Apr 13, 2008
With more and more of us in the UK shopping online, protecting yourself against credit card fraud becomes increasingly important. There are several things we can do to help foil fraudsters from getting their hands on your credit card information and ultimately your identity. Most credit card companies offer fraud protection cover. If you report any loss of your card within 24 hours the cardholder is only liable for a small, fixed amount - a bit like car insurance excess.

In the meantime, every cardholder should take the following steps to protect themselves:

* Get insurance: There are credit cards available on the market, which offer 'Identity Theft Insurance Cover'. * Get protection cover: Most card issuers offer a registration scheme, which should be a free service. It means online transactions will require an additional password to verify your identity. * Keep your records private: Don't let anyone know your pin number or use an easily traced pin number, such as a birthday or telephone number. * Hide or destroy your documents: It is sensible to purchase a shredding machine and regularly shred receipts documents sent from your card provider. * Make sure your computer is safe: Make sure you keep your computer secure with anti virus and firewall protection. There's a new piece of technology available, for example, called a 'phishing filter', which will protect you from fraudsters. * Don't email your personal details: Don't send Your PIN numbers or passwords to anybody, even if the person you are sending them to is trustworthy, you don't know who could be accessing your computer. * Don't give your personal details to cold callers. * Be aware who is looking over your shoulder: Cover the screen on the card terminal when you type in your PIN in a shop or at a cash-point. * Keep up to date: Read your statements thoroughly and make sure that you can recollect any expenditure, or tally with your receipts.

If you do experience fraud, remember to contact your bank immediately. The emergency 24-hour number is written on all statements. You will have to cancel your card and a new one will be reissued within a couple of weeks. With credit card fraud also comes the risk of identity theft. This is on the rise and can be even more devastating than a simple credit card fraud. Your identity is stolen and loans and mortgages are taken out against your name and defaulted on, in essence leaving you with the debt. Even though you did not take out the loans yourself, they have been taken out in your name, as a criminal has stolen your identity through your credit card details. There are credit cards that do offer additional 'Identity Theft Cover', although it does usually come at a small, monthly cost.

'Identity Theft Cover' does three basic tasks. It will prevent identity theft, detect potential criminal activity using your details, and defend against the theft of your name. Clearing your good name can take hundreds of man-hours, because all the credit agencies have to be contacted and back up documents provided to all of them to restore your credit rating (which is vital if you ever need a loan or mortgage in the future). The insurer will do all of these things using its own team of experts, removing a lot of the time and hassle on your part. In some cases, victims can find their bank accounts frozen. In circumstances like this, adequate cover would provide you with funds should you find yourself without use of a bank account, pending a criminal investigation; your legal fees are also covered.

If you are cautious and take all the recommended steps to protect yourself, you will be sure of protecting yourself against credit card fraud and identity theft. Think carefully before choosing your credit card and find one that will cover you against fraud. Even if this seems like one more added expense, it could end up saving you thousands of pounds and a great deal of stress and worry.
About the Author
Felicity Gardener is keen to increase consumer awareness of Credit Card Fraud prevention and protection. Read her detailed advice which will help you foil fraudsters from getting their hands on your credit card information and ultimately your identity.
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