Card Watch: 7 Ways to Combat Credit Card Fraud
There are many ways you can reduce the risk of fraud on your credit card. Here are just a handful:
- Use your common sense. Taking even the simplest precautions can stop fraud. Don't lend your card to anyone and only carry one or two cards at a time. Avoid providing your credit card information over the phone to unauthorized callers. Report lost or stolen credit cards to your credit card company immediately.
- Be wary of Internet scams. Don’t fall for any unsolicited emails that make too-good-to-be-true promises, such as an all-expense paid trip to California or access to a long-lost uncle's inheritance. Remember one simple rule: If an unsolicited email asks you to supply credit card information over the Internet, it’s a scam.
- Do the math. Your restaurant waiter may look honest, but double-check your receipt to make sure your transactions are accurate. Add up your charge slip before signing on the dotted line and don't leave blank spaces where someone might add an extra figure or two. If you notice something suspicious about your transaction or the device itself, contact the company's head office and your credit card company.
- Use due diligence. Take the time to review your monthly credit card statements. Keep an eye out for inaccurate or additional charges and report any unauthorized charges right away to your credit card company. Better yet, save your credit card receipts and, at the end of every month, cross-reference them against your monthly statement for greater accuracy.
- Be prepared. You can't prevent your wallet from ever being lost or stolen, but you can be ready to take action should it ever happen. Keep a list at home of the credit cards you keep in your wallet, their account numbers, and customer support contact information. Store the list in a safe place. The faster you can report a lost or stolen credit card to your financial institution, the greater your chances of minimizing the opportunity for criminal activity.
- Don't leave a paper trail. Be careful about storing and disposing of your personal financial papers, including bank statements, credit card applications, and documents containing signatures. Before recycling, shred any discarded mail or pages containing your personal information.
- Protect your passwords. If your credit card is password protected, be sure to select a complex password with a combination of numbers and letters. Change your password often. And don't write your password down in a place where it can be easily found.
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Wonder when it's the right time to use cash or credit? Read Will That Be Debit, Credit or Cash? to get answers.