Over the past decade, debit and credit card use has been the number one way consumers make purchases, pay bills, and make security deposits. Due to plastic being the primary form of payment, credit card fraud is at an all-time high. This high amount of fraud means you have to protect yourself against it. Here are nine ways to protect yourself against credit card fraud.
Protect Your Credit Card
Protecting your credit card may seem obvious, but surprisingly most credit cardholders fail to do so. Make sure you place it in a wallet, purse, or bag that is held close to your body and not easily grabbed. If possible, put it in a small purse or wallet that can be concealed. Don’t carry all your cards with you simultaneously. Only take one or two debit or credit cards with you and leave others behind. This will ensure that if a thief does manage to snatch your purse or wallet, they won’t have all your debit or credit cards.
When you use your card, make sure you conceal it as much as possible and pay attention to your surroundings. Some thieves will take a photo of your card and use the number for online purchases. Once you make a purchase, conceal your card as soon as possible.
Shred Credit Card Documents
Whether it is a billing statement or credit card receipt, once you no longer need the document, it is essential to shred it rather than throwing it away. Also, make sure you shred old cards when they expire. Often a new credit or debit card will have the same number with a new expiration date. The key is to ensure anything you are disposing of that has your credit card number on it must be destroyed before throwing away.
Never Sign Blank Credit Card Receipts
Not signing a blank credit card receipt may sound like an obvious no, no, but again, sometimes we are busy or distracted and will mindlessly sign anything put in front of us. Make sure you read anything you sign that is related to your debit or credit card. If you are at a restaurant and tip cash, make sure you write a zero or put a line in the blank and write the total yourself or write “No Tip” or “Cash” in the blank. Even if you do write in a tip, make sure you provide the total and write the amounts so that they cannot be doctored into another amount.
Don’t Give Out Credit Card Information
It is sometimes necessary to provide your credit or debit card number over the phone. First, never do so in public. If you have no choice, make sure you go to a private area and ensure no one is listening. Second, if you didn’t initiate the call, never give your card information to the caller, even if they claim to be a bill collector. If you think it is a legitimate entity, ask for their website and how you can make a payment online.
Be Safe Online
Never click on links in emails claiming to be your credit card company, bank, or another payment platform. If you receive an email that looks like it is from one of your banking or payment institutions claiming there is an issue with your card or account, go to their site or app and check your account after your secure login. This type of fraud is called phishing. It is used to capture your debit or credit card information or get your login and password. Also, when using your card online, ensure the site is secure. You can see if it is a secure site by looking at the URL or address bar on the site. If you see a padlock in the status or address bar, the site is secure.
Report Lost or Stolen Credit Cards
If your credit or debit card is stolen, immediately call the card holding company and cancel the card. If you think you merely misplaced the card and don’t want to have to deal with replacing the card or cards, many credit card companies and banks have an option to freeze the account. This freezing of the account will also allow the company to recognize fraudulent use and contact you if an attempt to use your card is made.
Check Your Statement Regularly
Unauthorized charges on your credit card are the first sign of credit card fraud. Some banking institutions or credit card holding companies will alert the cardholder to unusual activity. However, this cannot be counted on to catch fraud early. It is suggested that you check your banking or credit card statements daily. Though this may not avoid fraud, it will allow the fraud to be caught early and minimize any damage before it becomes overwhelming.
Create Diverse Passwords
Most people use the same passwords for all of their online activities. You must create complicated and unpredictable passwords for any site where your credit card is stored and make it different for every site. Also, never keep your passwords in an easy to locate or access place. Password diversity and security is vital to avoiding credit card fraud.
Watch for Credit Card Skimmers
A more recent and popular debit or credit card fraud is thieves employing the use of skimmers. A skimmer overlays the card reader of gas pumps and ATMs. It will not affect your ability to complete a transaction or purchase; however, the skimmer retains your credit card information and pin. To avoid this credit or debit card fraud, use bank ATMs, and be wary if the reader slot looks unusual. To prevent the possibility of a skimmer used on a gas pump, pay inside if you must use the reader on the pump, look at it closely and be wary if it seems out of place or unusual.About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.