Avoiding Credit Card Fraud


“And may I have your credit card number please?” We’ve all responded promptly with the number, expiration date and security code to that polite request from the pleasant voice on the other end of the phone. We’ve even readily given our social security numbers over the phone and only think twice about it when we hear a story about identity theft or credit card fraud, or worse, become a victim ourselves. The time to protect your identity and your credit is before you actually become a victim.

One of the most important things you can do to avoid credit card fraud is to closely check your statements as soon as they arrive. Keep a list of your credit cards and their issuers along with contact information for each. Report any discrepancies immediately to your credit card company. Do not respond to e-mails that appear to have come from your bank or credit card company asking you to log in or reply with sensitive financial information. Contact your credit card company or bank directly and speak with a representative personally.

When using an ATM make sure to take your receipt with you. Be cautious when using a foreign ATM- scammers have a way of installing (and it only takes seconds for someone with access to the area) a device that scans your cards information and sends it to a different computer. Take a look to be sure the ATM card scanner looks normal. If it does not, don’t use it.

If you make an online purchase be certain that you are buying from a reputable merchant. Do your research- check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the particular business is registered. Check the phone number and jot down both it and a physical address for the business. When you are entering your credit card information on the website make certain the site is secure- look for the little lock symbol.

Store sensitive financial information in a safe and secure place. If you are not going to keep your statements securely, shred them before disposing of them. If thieves or dumpster divers find your statements they can obtain credit cards in your name, use your existing cards and otherwise run up fraudulent transactions. Cleaning up after the fact is much harder than taking precautions in the first place.

Using your credit card or even debit card to make purchases is certainly convenient- just don’t make it convenient for someone else to use it too. Do not leave the card exposed where a passing thief could take a quick snapshot of it with a cell phone or other camera. Never sign a blank credit card receipt- always verify the amount that is going to be charged to your card before signing.

Remember, it’s okay to make purchases online or over the phone if you are cautious and take steps to protect yourself. Keep in mind that you are giving sensitive information to that person on the other end of the phone. Write down their name, your transaction number and other pertinent information so that you have some sort of record should you end up needing it later.

If you do discover that you have been a victim of credit card fraud, or if you lose your cards, contact your card issuer immediately. Don’t delay. Reporting the problem as soon as you become aware of it protects you from further liability and allows your bank or credit card company to immediately start tracking down the thief.

This post was written by

jason – who has written posts on Budget Clowns.
Father of three and married to a lovely women. Always looking for ways to save money, and invest it properly for my children's future.

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