Credit card fraud can easily be avoided with a bit of common sense and by being knowledgeable about the potential dangers in general. Unfortunately statistics have shown and continue to show us that fraud is on the up.
Consumers have to face the realities of becoming a victim of fraud because we can’t live without the plastic fantastic anymore. Every time we pull our credit card from the wallet we expose ourselves to potential attacks. The good news is that not all is bad. You can protect yourself with the following steps.
Being a victim of credit card fraud is not fun. Short of having a nervous breakdown because of the fear of losing all of your hard-earned money you need to keep a cool head to be able to stop the perpetrators sooner than later.
Get advice about credit repair to make your future better. The following 10 step action plan will allow you to protect yourself against the commonly seen fraud attacks.
1. Protect your personal details
Your personal details are like a fingerprint. Keep them save at all times. Avoid sharing passwords, PINs or birthdays with other people. One common problem are social networking website where people freely share their birthdays with strangers.
You should also avoid using birthday dates as your PIN access details because those are the first to be guessed by thieves.
2. Take advantage of protection schemes
3. Shred all your old statements
Never ever throw your old payment information into the rubbish bin without having shredded the info first. Anything personal containing dates, financial information, your address, your name, etc should be disposed of securely by shredding first.
Financial thieves lurk around household bins and are not shy of raiding your rubbish bin in search of private data that can be used to steal your identity or your money. Oh, and if you’re buying your first shredder – consider purchasing one with your credit card if you have a card that offers extended warranties or purchase protection!
4. Turn your PC or Mac into a fort
Always keep your anti virus software up-to-date. Consider using a firewall at all times and never browse the Internet unless you have these two lines of defense in place.
You also need malware software to help keep you safe from any attack while surfing the Internet.
Don’t be tempted to hand out any information to people over the phone unless you call them first. Your bank will not ask for passwords or login details by phone out of the blue.
One of the most popular forms of fraud is to steal your personal details via phishing. By using a phishing filter you can counteract any threat. In addition to this, it helps to be alert whenever you receive email. Never click on a link within an email program – always copy/paste and open a new browser window.
If the email is from your bank or PayPal asking you to verify your information before they shut down your account, don’t bite. These are common traps to make people click on the links after which their information is re-routed to another website (a phishing website) where your information (password, logins) will be stolen.
7. Shops can cheat too!
If you use your credit card in shops make sure you cover the keypad with your hand while you type your PIN. If you are in a foreign country identify that the actual terminal is issued by an official merchant by checking the terminal issuer number at the back.
There have been several recent cases of fake terminals used overseas to empty travellers bank accounts. By the time they got home, the money was gone.
Check your monthly credit card statements and screen them for any suspicious transactions. If in doubt, contact your bank right away and double-check the transaction in doubt.
9. Consider identity theft cover
Because of the rising cases of phishing, identity theft and fraud insurance companies have started to offer identity theft cover options.
If you want to eliminate every possible risk then taking out cover like this could be something you should look into.
10. If you lost your wallet
You must contact your bank immediately. You can find emergency contact numbers on the back of your monthly credit card statement or online. Even better, keep a record handy on the fridge and in your wallet.
Cancel your card immediately. Unless the bank can proof neglect on your behalf your money is usually safe.
Contact your local bank for more information about credit card fraud protection.
This article was written by Jeremy Cabral who is part of the team at CreditCardFinder.com.au, an Australian credit card comparison service. Read their Credit Card Fraud, Traps and Scams guide for more credit card safety and security tips.