Credit Card Fraud

21 tips to protect yourself from being a victim of credit card fraud: Internet ScamBusters #79


Today we focus on consumer credit card fraud. Here are 21 tips for protecting yourself...

Credit Card Fraud: 21 Tips to Protect Yourself

Although credit card fraud is certainly on the rise -- and credit card fraud on the Internet is rising even more dramatically -- many savvy Internet shoppers know that the reality is that it's actually much safer to enter your credit card number on a secure online order form than it is to give your credit card to a waiter at a restaurant.

After all, what's to stop the waiter from writing down your credit card number and placing orders on the phone with it later?

And research shows that the rate of fraudulent purchases made by cell phones is much higher than credit card fraud on the Net.

Nevertheless, we encourage you to take precautions when giving out any confidential information (including your credit card number) over the Internet, over the phone... or anywhere else for that matter!

Always use common sense -- it is the best rule of thumb.

Nonetheless, we've created 21 tips to protect yourself from credit card fraud -- which you'll find below.

First though, we wanted to mention a much more prevalent -- and much less publicized -- aspect of credit card fraud: the dangers of credit card fraud for businesses who accept credit cards over the Net. You can read more about 'Eight Sure-Fire Strategies Any Business Owner Can Use to Reduce Credit Card Fraud' by clicking here.

Internet ScamBusters' 21 Credit Card Fraud Prevention Tips:

1. Keep an eye on your credit card every time you use it, and make sure you get it back as quickly as possible. Try not to let your credit card out of your sight whenever possible.

2. Be very careful to whom you give your credit card. Don't give out your account number over the phone unless you initiate the call and you know the company is reputable. Never give your credit card info out when you receive a phone call. (For example, if you're told there has been a 'computer problem' and the caller needs you to verify information.) Legitimate companies don't call you to ask for a credit card number over the phone.

3. Never respond to emails that request you provide your credit card info via email -- and don't ever respond to emails that ask you to go to a website to verify personal (and credit card) information. These are called 'phishing' scams.

4. Never provide your credit card information on a website that is not a secure site.

5. Sign your credit cards as soon as you receive them.

6. Shred all credit card applications you receive.

7. Don't write your PIN number on your credit card -- or have it anywhere near your credit card (in the event that your wallet gets stolen).

8. Never leave your credit cards or receipts lying around.

9. Shield your credit card number so that others around you can't copy it or capture it on a cell phone or other camera.

10. Keep a list in a secure place with all of your account numbers and expiration dates, as well as the phone number and address of each bank that has issued you a credit card. Keep this list updated each time you get a new credit card.

11. Only carry around credit cards that you absolutely need. Don't carry around extra credit cards that you rarely use.

12. Open credit card bills promptly and make sure there are no bogus charges. Treat your credit card bill like your checking account -- reconcile it monthly. Save your receipts so you can compare them with your monthly bills.

13. If you find any charges that you don't have a receipt for -- or that you don't recognize -- report these charges promptly (and in writing) to the credit card issuer.

14. Always void and destroy incorrect receipts.

15. Shred anything with your credit card number written on it.

16. Never sign a blank credit card receipt. Carefully draw a line through blank portions of the receipt where additional charges could be fraudulently added.

17. Carbon paper is rarely used these days, but if there is a carbon that is used in a credit card transaction, destroy it immediately.

18. Never write your credit card account number in a public place (such as on a postcard or so that it shows through the envelope payment window).

19. Ideally, it's a good idea to carry your credit cards separately from your wallet -- perhaps in a zippered compartment or a small pouch.

20. Never lend a credit card to anyone else.

21. If you move, notify your credit card issuers in advance of your change of address.

If you suspect credit card fraud:

If your credit cards are lost or stolen, contact the issuer(s) immediately.

Most credit card companies have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service to deal with these emergencies -- they are eager to avoid credit card fraud.

According to US law, once you have reported the loss or theft of your credit card, you have no more responsibility for unauthorized charges. Further, your maximum liability under federal US law is $50 per credit card -- and many credit card issuers will even waive that fee for good customers. 

If you follow all these tips, it will go a long way in protecting you from credit card fraud.

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