Credit card fraud is a huge problem in the United States and indeed throughout the world. The crime is simple theft: someone finds a way to break into your credit card, so to speak, and use it behind your back to make their own purchases. Credit card fraud can cost people thousands of dollars and trash their credit history in the bargain if left unchecked. Preventing credit card fraud is mostly a matter of taking a common sense approach to your finances and not letting personal information out in the open! There are some simple ways to protect your information and keep yourself from becoming a statistic.
Check, Check and then Check Again!
Thanks to online banking, making sure that there are no nauthorized charges on your card is as simple as logging in and checking your records. Keep your receipts as well and then check regularly to make sure that there aren’t any unknown charges on your card. The sooner you catch these anomalies, the less money you’ll lose and the faster your creditor can clamp down on your card, protect your money and even reimburse you. There is always a phone number on your statement, on the creditor’s site, and sometimes even on the card where you can reach the fraud department to report a problem. Remember, if you report a fraudulent chard within the first 60 days, most major credit cards will reimburse you.
Keep Your Card in Sight
Never let your card out of sight. Whenever you can, swipe your card yourself–and if you can’t, don’t let the merchant get your card out of sight. This prevents skimming, the practice of passing a card through a card reader which then reads the information in the magnetic strip. While traveling, keep your credit cards on you at all times or in your room’s safe. And of course, don’t lend your credit card to anyone!
Be Careful When Shopping
There are lots of ways for fraudsters to get your information, but one of the main ones is online shopping. Too many merchants have less than secure websites where a skilled hacker can find a goldmine of credit card information. If you’re going to buy from an online store, then make sure you only go to sites you trust, make sure that the site is properly encrypted, and check for security certificates and safe credit card data policies. Taking a few minutes to make sure that your shopping is secure will give you some great peace of mind.
Protect Your Information
Protect your information to keep others from getting it! This includes things like signing the back of your credit card, memorizing your PIN, and shredding your credit card statements when you get them (or opt for paperless statements)–and shred your old credit cards when they expire or when you cancel them. There’s no such thing as being too careful when it comes to your credit cards.
Communicate With Your Creditor
Your credit card company isn’t some faceless entity that doesn’t care about what you’re up to! (If nothing else, they want their money back). If you’re moving or traveling you should always inform your credit card issuer. This will prevent your information from falling into the wrong hands and the company won’t become suspicious of odd transactions and freeze your card.
Preventing the theft of your money, identity, and history start with you. Pay attention to your purchases, read your statements and make sure that your information will always stay safe and secure. By taking these steps, you can greatly decrease the chances that you will become a victim. Fraud can still happen, but by taking all of the security steps you can, you will save yourself a lot of problems.