Thirty Ways to Protect Yourself from Credit Card Fraud and Theft

Thirty Ways to Protect Yourself from Credit Card Fraud and Theft

Credit cards have become a popular and trusted method of payment for consumers and retailers alike.  In addition to being convenient, they provide a short-term means of borrowing.  However, with the increase in credit card use has come an increase in the incidence of credit card fraud and theft.  Here are some tips to help you keep your card safe from misuse.

1.  Check your statement on a regular basis.  Question any purchases that you don’t remember having made.

2.  Never save your credit card details on a retailer site.

3.  Never let your card out of your sight, especially in restaurants.

4.  Use websites with payment-authorization mechanisms.  Increasingly, MasterCard and Visa are installing payment validation passwords into merchant processes as an added layer of protection.

5.  Always remember to sign your cards so that merchants have a signature to check against.  (You’d be surprised how many people don’t.)

6.  Guard your PIN (personal identification number) carefully by shielding your hand when typing the number into keypads.

7.  Use different PINs for different cards.

8.  Compare credit cards to see what type of fraud liability guarantee is available with each.  A little credit card comparison in the beginning can pay you back later if you ever become a victim of fraud.

9.  Shred or burn any receipts or other documents with your credit card number on them.

10.  Don’t purchase from unfamiliar or untrusted websites.

11.  Try not to use credit cards to buy goods from outside of the developed world.  Data is more likely to be compromised there.

12.  Never let someone else use your card when you aren’t present.

13.  Never respond to e-mails asking you to validate your credit card number or other card information.

14.  Never divulge credit card information to unsolicited telephone callers purporting to be from a bank or retailer.

15.  Keep a record of your credit card number in a safe place or memorize it in case your card goes missing.

16.  Call your bank or card provider immediately if you are ever unable to find your card or you suspect a fraudulent transaction has been made.

17.  Don’t use obvious numbers for your PIN such as a date of birth or house number.

18.  Use ATMs that are located in busy, well-lit areas or inside bank premises.

19.  Never walk away from an ATM with cash in your hand.  Always count it and put it away before turning to leave the machine.

20.  Keep your virus-protection software up-to-date and do regular scans of your system.

21.  Use a firewall to prevent hackers from accessing your home system.  If you’re a Windows user, switch on the Microsoft standard firewall at a minimum.

22.  Use PayPal as an accepted third-party way of paying to shield your credit card data from retailers.

23.  Never divulge more information than needed to place an order.  Keep bank account details private.

24.  If using an auction site such as eBay, check out sellers’ feedback ratings and only deal with those with excellent scores.

25.  Don’t carry your cash and cards in the same place.  That way if you lose one or have one stolen, you will have the other as a backup.

26.  Never sign a blank authorization form.

27.  Only take the card with you that you need for a given day’s purchases.  Leave the others at home.

28.  When moving, make sure to notify your card issuer as soon as possible and to have all mail forwarded from your old address to your new one for at least six months.

29.  Make sure that your card provider has up-to-date contact details.

30.  Close any credit card accounts that you no longer use.  Otherwise, someone else might use them to get cashback at your expense.

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