12 Days of Christmas Tips – Day 2: Credit Card Fraud

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12 Days of Christmas Tips – Day 2: Credit Card Fraud

The holidays are a time when thieves really like to take advantage of credit card fraud. Because so many people are using credit cards more than they normally might, it is easier to slip through some charges that people might not otherwise recognize. There are some common sense tips that can help prevent you from be taken advantage of by thieves.

-Keep a record of all your account numbers, expiration dates, and security codes, and the phone number at which you can report fraud or loss of cards. Keep that list somewhere secure where you can access it quickly when needed.

-Check your monthly statement as soon as it arrives, or even better, if you have online access to an account, check it regularly for any fraudulent charges, or for incorrect amounts on charges. If you have been out shopping all day, check those cards within 24 hours online whenever possible. Reconcile every receipt to every charge. If any thing looks questionable, call your credit card company.

-Never leave a blank line on a receipt that you sign. If there are blanks for tips, extra amounts, etc, draw a line through each blank that you are not putting an amount in. Place a $ sign next to any amount you fill in, so that someone cannot add another digit in front of that amount later.

-While actually using the credit card, keep the card in your sight whenever possible. Restaurants are environments where your card is particularly vulnerable to credit card skimming. Consider using cash at restaurants, or any environment where your card will be out of your sight.

-Keep your credit cards separate from your driver’s license/ID when you are out, and carry them in different places on your person. If your wallet or purse is stolen, this will help minimize the impact. Also, only carry the card(s) that are necessary for that particular excursion.

-If you keep credit card or bank information on your cell phone, make sure you keep your cell phone password protected at all times. Just remember how much personal information is on your cell phone. You must keep that information protected if you don’t want a thief to take advantage of you.

-Don’t ever give your card number to someone who calls you. If you are calling a company to purchase something or to give them your credit card number over the phone, make sure they are a reputable business before hand. This also is true if you purchase items online. Whenever possible, use a method like PayPal that gives you some additional protection when buying online.

-Don’t loan your cards to anyone, this includes your children, roommate, or family member. It’s not that they will misuse them, but rather that they might not take all the safety precautions that you take. There are many ways to make money available to others these days; use one of those methods instead.

Visa has some additional tips on security that you can read about here. Remember that timely notification of your credit card provider will limit your liability, so keep your eye on that credit card and your credit card statement!

 

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Keith Owens is the owner and founder of Owens Investigations.

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