Avoiding Credit Card Fraud

Published January 7, 2013 by

When your credit card information is stolen and used to make unauthorized transactions, you become a victim of credit card fraud. This type of fraud costs consumers and credit card issuers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Moreover, a recent study has shown that over 47 percent of online merchants believe fraud is one of the most important problems their businesses face.

The good news is that credit card issuers have advanced systems to detect fraudulent activity and catch unauthorized card use before it happens. However, despite this fact, as well as the fact that card issuers are working to design safer cards, you still need to take some simple precautions. Thankfully, there are a few simple tips you can learn to protect yourself from credit card fraud.

Keep Your Card in Sight at All Times

Pay close attention when using your credit cards at retail stores. When you go shopping, it’s recommended to swipe or insert your credit card yourself. Keep an eye on it during the transaction and get it back as quickly as possible. Also, carry your cards separately from your wallet. And never lend one of your cards to anyone.

Never Give Out Credit Card Information

Scammers often initiate calls or send emails pretending they are from your credit card company or another trusted organization. Unless you’ve initiated the phone call, don’t give out your private data over the phone. In order to avoid credit card fraud, you should never give out your credit card number or personal information to someone you don’t trust. Additionally, don’t fall for those gimmicks on the Internet that promise you great prizes as long as you enter your name, address, birth date and other details.

Avoid Online Fraud

Online banking fraud has increased by over 14 percent in the past few years. The best way to reduce the risk of online fraud is to never give over your credit card details on the Internet unless you’re dealing with a website that is trusted and well known. Also, register your cards with MasterCard SecureCode or Verified by Visa. In addition, when you visit online stores or use Internet banking, type the appropriate website address into your browser. And every time you buy products online or make transactions over the Internet, look for websites with addresses starting with “https.”

Check Your Billing Statements Regularly

Unauthorized charges on your credit card are the main sign of fraud. If you believe that one of your credit card accounts has been compromised, ask the credit card issuer to cancel the card. You may also check your credit card statements online to keep track of your spending and identify unauthorized transactions.

Shred All Your Credit Card Statements

Shred any bills and receipts containing your credit card number. In fact, you should shred any documents that carry sensitive, identifying personal information. This includes sales commission reports, old bank statements, and receipts. If you don’t dispose of such documents, you risk becoming a victim of credit card fraud.

Set Up Alerts

Many credit card issuers will let you set alerts that will send you text messages if your card balance goes above a certain threshold. Customers can receive payment reminder alerts, available credit alerts, and suspicious transaction alerts. You may also choose to receive alerts by email. These services can help you avoid credit card fraud, find out when a payment is due, and track your account transactions.