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Credit Card Fraud: How to Protect Yourself

Aug 24, 2007
As technology has increased, so has credit card fraud. There are some simple steps that you can take to help protect yourself from credit card fraud. Let's look at these more closely.

Keep It Close: You should never let your credit card out of sight unless it cannot be helped.

Tight Lips: Never give your card number out over the phone unless you are certain you know who you are talking to or ordering from. The best advice for phone orders is that you make the call. This assures you that you are talking to the people who are at the number dialed. If someone calls you, do not give out your information. There are no legitimate companies who call and ask for credit card numbers.

The same holds true for emails. Legitimate companies do not email customers requesting credit card information. This type of fraud has become a global problem. This same type of credit card fraud might ask you to go to a website to verify personal information and card information. Do not go there. This is known as phishing (pronounced fishing).

Sign It: Make it a habit to always sign the back of your card the moment you get it.

Shred It: If you get credit card applications that you are not planning to apply for shred them immediately. This can help avoid future card fraud should someone take the application from your trash bin.

Secure Sites: When giving out information on a website, make sure the site is secure. You should see a small lock icon on secure pages.

Protect the PIN: Keep your PIN in a place that is not near the credit card. Do not write your PIN (Personal Identification Number) on the back of the card.

Record: It is a good idea to write down all of your credit card account numbers and the expirations dates. You should also include the contact phone numbers and addresses of the card issuer. Keep this list in a very secure place where no one else can get to it. Use it in case of fire or flood damage to your home.

Be Prompt: One of the best defenses against credit card fraud is to open your statement as soon as you get it. Look for any unauthorized charges. If you find unauthorized charges report those charges immediately to the card issuer.

Be Tidy: Anything with your credit card information on it should be destroyed as soon as you no longer need it. If you cannot destroy it, place it in a secure box.

Cut the Carbon: Carbon copy paper is not used much anymore but you still see it in some places. Make sure you get the carbon copy from the vendor and that you either destroy it or secure it.

Notify: If you are planning to move, notify the issuer in advance and make arrangements for your mail delivery during the transition. You do not want your statements arriving at the old address. You should also contact the Post Office.

If you suspect fraud, contact the issuer immediately. Most companies have a toll free phone number you can use for this. Keep in mind that in cases of credit card fraud much of your liability is determined by how fast you contact the issuer.

According to federal law, once you have reported the loss or theft of your card, you are not responsibility for unauthorized charges.
About the Author
Peter Kenny is a writer for The Thrifty Scot, please visit us at Best Credit Cards and Bank Charges
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