Credit Card Theft

How to Protect Yourself Against It
 
Every year, millions of people suffer from credit card theft, through the physical loss of their credit card or theft of the information it contains due to identity theft.

Identity theft occurs when your personal information such as that contained in your credit card data is obtained by another person for purposes of committing credit card fraud and other crimes.

It is possible to protect yourself from card theft by applying the following simple precautions:

    1. First and foremost, you should always be careful about who you provide with your credit card information. While this may seem obvious, it is important to note that today’s scammers target consumers through emails requesting for their credit card details.

    It is therefore important to be on your toes and avoid responding to emails that you believe could be a scam. Instead, forward the email to spam@uce.gov, and it will be stored in the database of the Federal Trade Commission that is utilized by law enforcement agencies.

    2. Also, you may safeguard your credit card and the information it contains by avoiding giving out your credit card number over the phone. You should only do this if you feel confident that you are speaking to a financial institution that is trustworthy, or a reputable retailer.

    3. Should you utilize your credit card at a restaurant or store, watch the employee closely to ensure that they do not skim your card with devices that resemble cellular phones.

    4. Before you even think about paying bills or shopping via your computer at home, have your home WiFi encrypted by turning on your router’s WiFi protected Access (WPA).

    Also get yourself some anti spyware software that will prevent others from tracking whatever you type on your keyboard. Visit National Cyber Security Alliance at www.staysafeonline.org for more tips on how to protect your credit card information online.

    5. Whenever you leave the house, carry your credit card separately in a little pouch, rather than in a wallet. When using your card at ATMs, be sure to cover the keypad from prying eyes with your free hand.

    6. Invest in a decent confetti or cross-cut shredder that will enable you to destroy any documents containing personal information that you receive in the mail.

    7. Take some time to review statements pertaining to your bank account and credit card every month. Should you detect an unfamiliar entry, contact the issuer immediately to request for more information. If your suspicions are correct and you are the victim of credit card theft, you should take steps to dispute the incorrect charge right away.

In the event that your credit card gets stolen, you should immediately inform your issuing company. You will be liable for a maximum charge of $50, although these are typically waived by Visa and MasterCard.

If you want to take your protection measures up a notch, you may do this by writing “check ID” on the back of your credit cards instead of signing them. This way, in the event of credit card theft, the thieves will not be able to use your card at a store without the relevant ID.

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