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14 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Credit Card Fraud

Nov 6, 2007
Over the past several years, credit card fraud has become increasingly more common. It is a crime on the rise that costs credit card holders and issuers hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Regardless of how cautious you may be, there is no guarantee that you will not become a victim. But there are several steps you can take to minimize your chances of falling prey to credit card fraud.

1. As soon as you receive a new credit card, sign the back. If the card is lost or stolen before you sign it, anyone can sign it and use it without question, as their signature on the sale receipt will now match the signature on the card.

2. Look over your monthly statements carefully and watch for any suspicious charges. Notify your card issuers immediately if you notice any charges that you have not approved.

3. Once you have notified your card issuer of an unauthorized charge by phone, follow up in writing.

4. Save your charge receipts and use them to reconcile your monthly statements.

5. Never throw your credit card statements into the garbage. Most credit card theives find the information they need from searching through the trash. Credit card bills and statements should be shredded before being discarded. Any credit card offers received by mail should also be shredded, or theives can use them to open a credit card account in your name.

6. Always cut up expired cards before throwing them away. The part of the card that contains the account number should be cut into pieces too small to put back together.

7. Never write your account number on the outside of the payment envelope, or anywhere it can be seen through the envelope window.

8. Never give out your credit card number, or any other identifying information, over the phone unless you have initiated the call and you are sure you are speaking with a reputable company.

9. When using your credit card online, be sure the merchant web site is secure.

10. If you receive any email from any company asking you to "verify your account information", do not reply. No legitimate company will ask you to verify any information via email. This is a common online scam. Do not fall victim to it.

11. When signing a credit card receipt, put lines through any blank lines before signing. This prevents someone from adding to the total later.

12. Never write your PIN number on your card or keep it in your purse or wallet. If you should lose your these items, your PIN number can be used by a thief to empty out your account.

13. If you should move, be sure to update your mailing address with your credit card companies and banks, and have your mail forwarded to your new address.

14. Keep a list of all your credit cards, including your account numbers, PINs, expiration dates, and the phone number for each card. Keep this list in a secure place such as a safety deposit box. YOu will need this information in the case of your cards being lost or stolen.
About the Author
Peter Kenny is a writer for Finance 123. Please visit us at Cash Back Credit Cards and Auto Loans
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