With the wide use of credit cards at stores or restaurants, and with online shopping, credit card fraud has been on the rise. This article offers several tips to help you avoid credit card fraud.
- If you receive an email asking for your credit card details, delete it. Never respond to such emails, even if they seem to be official emails from your bank.
- Whenever you present your credit card to any merchant, make sure that he/she does not charge you twice.
- Avoid credit card schemes. When you give your credit card to a merchant, he/she can insert your credit card in a small machine and extract all the information from the magnetic strip. They then can make another credit card with this information and use it fraudulently. However, with the introduction of smart chip based credit cards, this risk has been drastically reduced.
- Don’t enter your credit card number into an unsecured website. Before entering your credit card online, make sure the address uses “https” rather than “http.” Also, make sure that your browser displays the secure lock, usually in the bottom right corner, or towards the top in some browsers. The website should also display a certification from trusted companies like Norton, GoDaddy or Thawte.
- As soon as you receive your credit card, sign the back of it. If you lose a card that doesn’t have your signature, someone else may sign it and use that card as you. There should be instructions on the credit card regarding activation. You may need to call their phone number from your home phone for your added security.
- Credit card companies get your name and contact details from various sources, such as airlines, cell phone companies, and many other places. From this, they may send you unsolicited application forms. Destroy these application forms immediately. If you have a shredder, shred them.
- You have to choose a PIN for cash advances with your credit card. Never write that PIN on the credit card, in your wallet, or keep it with your credit card. If your credit card is lost and someone else finds it with your PIN, they can withdraw cash using your credit card.
- If possible, keep your credit card away from your wallet or purse.
- If someone calls and claims that they are from your bank, never give the credit card number to them over the phone. Call your bank yourself and provide the number, if it is really needed.
- Before giving a credit card number to a merchant over the phone, make sure you can trust them. Make sure they have a website and have provided physical contact information, they are reputed, and properly licensed. Check whether they participate in the Better Business Bureau.
- Store your credit card statements safely. When they are no longer needed, shred them.
- If you change your address, inform your bank immediately.
- Check your credit card statement every time you receive it, and make sure there are no unauthorized charges.
- Keep your credit name, bank information, phone number, etc., separate and in a secure place. If your credit card is lost or stolen, inform the bank immediately.
- Keep only the number of credit cards you really need. Don’t carry too many credit cards at one time.
- Whenever possible, use your credit card for online shopping. Avoid using a debit card. Most fraudulent charges on credit cards can easily be disputed, but it would be very difficult to dispute them with a debit card, as the money is automatically deducted from your bank account.
- If you find any discrepancies in your credit card statement regarding charges, notify the credit card issuer within 60 days of receiving the statement. Provide your name, account number, the charge you believe is incorrect, and provide the reason why.
Many times, if you are buying something from a large company, they may bill from their headquarters or a different location. Some online shopping websites use other vendors for billing. Therefore, if the amount of charge and the date of charge match, it is most likely a valid charge.
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