Avoiding credit card fraud is important, because it helps protect your credit. Unfortunately, from online credit card fraud to outright theft of credit cards, there are many ways thieves can use credit card fraud to steal from us and hurt our credit scores. So what can we do to protect ourselves? If you have a membership with ScoreSense, fraud is less likely to impact you, because your credit accounts are constantly monitored for suspicious activity. There are additional steps you can take, though, to protect yourself from credit card fraud.
First, understand the various ways that credit card fraud can happen. Probably the most obvious way for a thief to gain access to your credit cards is to steal them. However, someone can also get your account numbers out of your garbage and use them illegally, or steal a credit card offer from your mailbox and open a fraudulent account in your name. A dishonest store clerk or waiter can make an extra imprint of your card, and use it to make personal charges. With the advent and proliferation of the Internet, more credit card fraud laws have been implemented, because the web has opened a wealth of new opportunities for dishonesty. Not only can a thief use an account you’ve accidentally left logged in, but more sophisticated scammers can use “phishing” techniques to trick you into revealing important information. By understanding the various fraudulent practices, you’ll be better able to protect yourself.
- Keep your cards safe. Consider storing credit cards in a separate holder, rather than in your wallet. Never carry more credit cards than you intend to use that day; rather, keep the ones you’re not using locked up until you need them.
- Secure your account information. Keep important documents in a locked security box, and do not leave statements or other sensitive documents lying around.
- Keep an eye on your card during transactions. Do not let it out of your sight, if you can possibly help it, and make sure you get it back immediately.
- Destroy anything with your number on it. Destroy carbons, shred statements before discarding, do whatever it takes to keep your important numbers out of the hands of thieves.
- Never sign blank receipts. Always verify the amount before you sign, and draw a line through any blank spaces above the total.
- Do not give out your account information. Don’t write it down for someone, don’t give it out over the phone, and do not give it to someone who asks for it via email. Treat your credit account information as something personal and private, and guard it well.
- Use caution online. If possible, avoid shopping or paying bills on a public computer. Only shop with merchants you have verified to be trustworthy, and be suspicious of anyone who asks you for personal financial information via email or social media. If the request includes a link to “log in” to an existing account, do not use the link. Instead, log in to the account by accessing the site as you normally would; chances are, the company is not the party behind the original request, and you can verify that by visiting the site.
- Report the loss of a card immediately. Even if you think you may have just misplaced it in your home, report it and get a new one. The possibility that you’ll find it later is not worth the risk of it being used fraudulently. And, if you think you’re a victim of credit card fraud, alert the card issuer immediately.
- Check and double check. Review your card statements each month, to make sure there are no fraudulent charges. Then, check your credit reports once a year to make sure everything is as it should be.
Credit card fraud is a very real threat, but it doesn’t have to harm you. ScoreSense offers you the chance to take control of your finances, and that includes keeping a close eye on credit accounts to prevent tampering from affecting your credit record. If you’d like more information on credit management with ScoreSense, visit us at www.scoresense.com.