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Credit Card Fraud: How to Avoid It

Posted on August 24, 2015

You probably don’t think too much about your credit cards on a daily basis, except when you need to pull them out to make a purchase. However, credit card fraud can and does happen, and being conscious of this possibility happening to you is a wise approach. The United States led the charge in credit card fraud around the world, totaling $5 billion in losses in 2013 alone, according to the Washington Post.

From shredding documents to being careful about online purchases, there are steps you can take to avoid credit card fraud. Here are some helpful tips:

Keep your account numbers close to the vest. Never give out your account number, social security number or any other personal identifiers over the phone unless you know for sure the company is reputable, cautions the Federal Trade Commission. Research the company fully online by searching for reviews and complaints.

Keep credit cards separate. Carry these cards in another location from your wallet, such as in a secret pocket of your purse. Better yet, leave your credit cards at home if you know you won’t need them, or carry just one main one for emergencies.

Save all receipts. This will help you compare your spending totals on your monthly statements so you don’t miss any transactions.

Keep an eye on your card at all times. During transactions, don’t take your eyes off your card, and make sure you get it back after it is swiped.

Check your accounts often. Set your accounts up so you can view them online and look them over frequently for any discrepancies. This way, you can dispute them right away if need be.

Let your credit card company know of any major changes. These include address changes or long-term travel. The more your credit card company knows about your activities, the better they can determine unusual activity on your account.

Shred old documents. Any documents with personal information, such as social security numbers and credit card numbers, should be shredded before being thrown in the trash.

Never write down your PIN. Make it easier to remember so you don’t have to resort to keeping a written record of it.

Be aware of your surroundings. When visiting ATMs, take a look around and view the immediate area. Is it poorly lit? Is it in a fairly concealed location? Is something just “off” about the situation? Listen to your instincts and try another ATM.

Report lost or stolen cards right away. If there’s a chance your credit card number could be in use by another person, calling to cancel the card sooner rather than later will cut down on the expenses a thief can build up.

You can do your part to avoid being a victim of credit card fraud. Take the threat seriously and be aware at all times. All it takes is a second for someone to steal your information, so protect it carefully!


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