Ways To Spot And Prevent Credit Card Fraud and ID Theft

In today’s society, credit cards are used more routinely as using them is handier than carrying a pocket full of cash. However, it is ever so easy to misuse credit cards and lose track of amounts being charged. This is a fast and easy way to get into debt way above your ability to repay fully each month.
Along with increased legitimate credit card usage and spending too much, comes the increased risk of credit card fraud. It is quite upsetting to realize you’ve become a victim of fraud. Correcting your credit accounts and credit report can be time-consuming and sometimes complicated getting all the different parts of your credit and financial life straightened out.

Many Forms Of Credit Card Fraud
There are many ways credit card fraud can be done and new methods seem to be increasing every day.

Someone can be watching you when withdrawing money from an ATM machine and follow you only to later rob you of your cash as well as credit cards.

When paying for meals, gasoline, clothing or other merchandise, a dishonest cashier or salesclerk can use your credit card twice without your notice. Then information can be copied onto a blank credit card slip to be used personally or possibly sold to a third person.

One type of fraud involves a phone call where the caller informs you that your bank or Credit Card Company is updating records or checking account accuracy. The callers sound sincere and believable and once they feel like you seem comfortable with them on the phone you will be asked to confirm personal information including your credit card number. If they are impersonating a bank representative you may be asked for checking and savings account information.

Ways To Prevent Credit Card Fraud

Never give out your personal information this way over the phone. This is not a policy banks and credit card companies ever do by telephone. The only time you should give out your number would be if you personally call a business to place an order and plan to pay by credit card.

Always keep receipts of your credit card purchases and compare these charges when your statement arrives. Should you notice items you did not buy, notify your credit card company immediately as you are not usually held responsible for fraudulent credit card charges.

When signing a charge receipt, always add up the charges for accuracy and never sign a blank credit card receipt. There are dishonest business owners who might change your charge amount after your signature.

If you receive a credit card offer in the mail and don’t plan to use it, completely destroy and shred all information.

If you have more than one card, only take one or two with you when shopping and leave the others at home. This will protect you against losing all of your cards if you happen to lose your wallet or become a robbery victim. There are small-sized safes you can use in your home to store these in, along with other important papers you need to protect.

Avoid printing your PIN (personal identity number) on your credit card as that will prevent thieves from using your card to access your cash from an ATM machine.

Keep a list of phone numbers of your credit card companies in case your card is stolen.

Report stolen cards as soon as possible as your credit card company can cancel the card and number, preventing its use by a thief.

Methods For Protecting Your Identity
Along with credit card theft and fraud, Identity Theft is increasing dramatically and you must also guard against this as well. ID Theft is the number one crime that US citizens face according to LifeLock, a leading credit and identity theft protection company. Here are some situation that you may spot where you can minimize your exposure to having your ID stolen with some simple preventative steps.

Sometimes unrequested mail order catalogs arrive in the mail. Unless interested in ordering, discard these, but before doing so, remove your address label which also can be on the order blank inside the catalog.

When discarding or recycling newspapers and magazines, also remove or blacken out the name and address labels which identify you. It is a common practice for dishonest persons to sift through trash looking for identifying information, so all envelopes, letters, advertisements, etc., need to be shredded to prevent this from getting into unscrupulous hands.

When paying a credit card bill, only use the last four numbers of your credit cards to identify your credit card account number in the check memo.

If using checks, avoid having full information such as Social Security Number or Driver’s License Number in the return address of the check. Initials can be used for first name or names on the check.

A single person who lives alone, whether a man or woman, should use only first initial of his/her name in the phone book listing. This is further protection of their identity.

Hopefully, keeping all these things in mind, your credit cards will remain secure in your possession and not accessible to those who’d gladly like to defraud you by stealing your credit cards and identity.
If you want more information on credit card fraud and ID theft please ask EdGAR.