Credit card fraud is becoming more and more of a problem. And, if you are not careful then you could lose money to fraudsters. Here are 10 basic credit card safety tips to teach you how to protect yourself from credit card fraud.
Methods of fraud
The methods and types of fraud are increasing as criminals learn new techniques and get improved technology. The most common methods of fraud today include:
- Copying and ‘cloning’ of cards
- ATM fraud
- Internet card fraud
- PIN number stealing
All of these methods are used more commonly than ever before to effectively steal your money. Obviously, it is impossible to totally eliminate the problem of credit card fraud. But, there are things you can do to greatly reduce the risks.
If you are worried about fraud but are unsure how you can protect yourself and your credit cards, follow these tips.
Keep cards close
Make sure that you never let your cards out of your sight. Never leave cards unattended, and certainly don’t lend your card to anyone. If you are paying in a restaurant or shop, make sure you pay attention as to where your card is.
A common method used to copy your card is to get the details while you pay. The best tip is to keep an eye on your card at all times.
Whenever you get a receipt or a credit card bill, check that all the items and amounts are correct. If there are any amounts that you are unsure about, contact your card issuer immediately.
Any paperwork that you throw away should be disposed of properly. Shred documents so that people cannot go through your rubbish and discover your card details.
Look behind you
When withdrawing money from a cash machine, make sure no one is looking over your shoulder to read your PIN. The easiest way for someone to use your card illegally is to see your PIN and then steal the card. Also, make sure you never keep a written record of your PIN, especially near your cards.
Use reputable firms
When buying on the Internet, make sure that you only purchase items from large and well-established providers.
Small or unknown providers should be avoided. Even if they are legitimate, their security and encryption may be poor and allow fraudsters to access your details.
Keep contact numbers
If you have your card stolen or you think you have been the victim of credit card fraud, then you need to find the problem as quickly as possible.
Keep all the contact numbers for your card issuer in a safe place so that you can contact them immediately.
If you are careful and act quickly, you can limit the damage of fraud or prevent it from occurring at all.
Never have more cards than you need
While it is always advisable that you have more than 1 credit card, in case it gets lost, you should never have more credit cards than you actually need to use.
The principal reason why this is the case is because it becomes harder to keep a track of which cards you have and where you have kept them with the more cards you have.
Always keep a photocopy of your cards
How many times have you been asked what your card number is only to find yourself looking for your card to get the number? Now, what happens if you have a card stolen and no credit card statement? You have a problem!
For this reason, it is always a best practice to have photocopies of you credit cards so that always know where to find the number should anything unfortunate happen to your card.
Always keep your receipts separate
Among the most important of the basic credit card safety tips you’ll receive is never to keep your credit cards and credit card purchase receipts in the same place. Because likely as not if you have lost your card, or if it is stolen, then you’ll have lost or stolen the receipts as well.
Now there is no way for you to vouch which transactions were yours and which where not – or, there is no way to tell which was the last genuine transaction you made.
Never give your account number to someone you don’t know
If you are ever asked to give your credit card details to someone you don’t know, or who as initiated a discussion with you (rather than the other way round) over the phone or via email, you should always refuse.
Worst come to the worst, phone the card issuer and ask them if it is okay for you to divulge the information or phone the enquirer back. If the enquirer seems reluctant to accept this, you have to ask yourself why!
Never leave your account details open to public viewing
It may sound rather basic to say you should never let ‘Joe public’ see your credit card account details, but ask yourself this question: “How often have you received a publication subscription form in postcard format?”
Now, suppose you complete this with your credit card details filled in. Suddenly half the world has access your credit card number, expiry date and signature!
Ultimately keeping your credit cards safe is your responsibility. Indeed, in a worst case scenario, if it can be proven you may have been negligent in keeping your credit card safe, you may find yourself liable for the cost of all fraudulent transactions on your account should you lose the card.
Although the above may sound like basic credit card safety tips you already know, you would be surprised to see how many people fail to follow one or all of them!
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