Everyone is busy for Christmas shopping this holiday season but not all of us are cautious before we swipe that plastic money. Credit card fraud is certainly on the rise and credit card fraud on the Internet is rising even more dramatically. Credit and charge card fraud costs cardholders and issuers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. While theft is the most obvious form of fraud, it can occur in other ways. For example, someone may use your card number without your knowledge.
Here are the tips on how to protect yourself from being a victim of credit card fraud:
- Sign new cards immediately. When you receive your new or replacement card in the mail, sign it, in ink, right away. If it is a replacement card, destroy the old card by cutting it into many small pieces.
- Shred old credit card receipts. You can purchase an inexpensive paper shredder at an office supply store. All old receipts with your credit card number and any unneeded documents with your social insurance number or other sensitive personal information should be shredded before disposal. This prevents the common practice of criminals going through the trash to find receipts and stealing your identity
- Never fax your credit card number. Your credit card number can lie for hours in the fax basket at the other end. Anyone passing by can record your number and begin to use your card number fraudulently. It is even possible for criminals to intercept your credit card number while the fax is in transmission.
- Use caution when giving your credit card number out on the phone or on the Internet. Only give out your credit card number on telephone calls you initiate to business or organizations you trust. Never give your number out to callers who call unannounced, no matter how legitimate the call sounds.
- On the Internet, look for an Internet address that begins https:\\. The â€œsâ€ indicates that it is a secure connection and a small padlock symbol should appear in the bottom right hand corner of your screen, indicating it is safe to transmit your credit card number.
- Call your credit card company instantly if you suspect trouble. All credit card companies have 24 hour lost and stolen help lines. If you lose your wallet or purse or have it stolen, call without delay! Much fraud happens within the first hour or two, before the victim realizes the cards are missing. Your credit card company will block your cards from being used and stop you from being responsible for any charges thieves incur.
Take advantage of any security features your card offers. Many newer cards have the option of including your photograph on the card. This is excellent protection and is highly recommended.