Effective Ways to Prevent Credit Card Fraud
Clearly, credit cards have become the universal currency for most consumers. People feel more financially secure with a reliable credit card in their wallet or purse. It has made travelling relatively trouble-free. People can now acquire a diverse range of products in the most convenient way possible. Online shopping, for one, has been the trend that’s been embraced by busy consumers who do not have the time to leave their homes to shop. With a credit card on hand, shopping and paying for goods and services has never been easier.
However, this alternative currency also has its downside. As credit becomes a primary element in spending and trade, criminals have devised numerous ways to swindle people through it. Credit card fraud has been reported as one of the most prevalent financial crimes that have affected a great number of consumers to date.
Understanding Credit Card Fraud
Wikipedia defines credit card fraud as a wide-ranging term for theft and fraud committed using a credit card or any similar payment mechanism as a fraudulent source of funds in a transaction. This type of fraud has been closely associated to identity theft. It occurs when another individual uses your credit card to make unauthorized purchases and transactions. It must be taken into account that these purchases and transactions can hurt or entirely damage your credit.
By now, most people are already familiar with this type of offense. Consumers have been exposed one way or another, or may have been victimized by credit felons. As credit card fraud becomes uncontrollable and widespread, prevention is the only defense that consumers have against these scammers.
We have gathered some helpful tips to help credit card holders avert credit card fraud.
- Always make sure that your credit card details are kept confidential. Avoid disclosing your credit card number to individuals who you don’t trust. Make sure that you dispose of any billing statements or old cards properly. Shred paper statement of accounts and cut old plastic just so you know that any of your bank or credit card information won’t fall into the wrong hands.
- If possible, try to have your credit card transactions processed in your presence. This way you can prevent yourself from being a victim of skimming. For those who are not familiar with this high-tech credit card scam, skimming is a form of financial fraud that relies on data-reading electronics to copy the magnetic stripe information from your credit card or debit card. It captures both credit card and PIN number.
- Hold on to receipts of your credit card transactions so that you can cross-check your credit card activities on your billing statement. Checking for inaccuracies and confirming that everything tallies up is one of the best ways to ensure credit fraud prevention.
- Do not give out personal or financial information through email or phone. Keep in mind that scammers have devised extremely advanced and crafty ways of embezzlement. Scams such as phishing and tele-phishing have become too rife and out of control. Ignore emails and calls that ask you to provide personal and financial details. Thieves and hackers have come up with an array of modus operandi to embezzle personal and credit card information from unsuspecting consumers. Bogus websites are popping up everywhere on the Internet with the sole purpose to pilfer and abuse another person’s credit. Excessive vigilance will never be enough!
- Always make sure that you are on a secure and legitimate website whenever you’re making a transaction over the Internet. Professional thieves who are technologically adept are putting up websites primarily designed to accomplish credit card fraud. Usually, these websites are derived from links attached in phishing emails that are disseminated by fraudsters. Immediately delete electronic messages that ask you to verify your personal details and credit card information.
- Make sure that any personal or financial information that you key in online will not be saved. Permanently delete all records such as your Social Security number, date of birth, credit or debit card numbers and even usernames and passwords.
- Inform your creditors about any updates or changes in your information. Report your change of address to make sure that billing statements won’t be sent to your old address. Keep in mind that these billing statements contain valuable financial information that can lead to credit card fraud or even identity theft.
- To protect yourself from credit fraud, you must be responsible enough to regularly monitor your credit. It is important to check for imprecise data such as unauthorized credit card transactions or new lines of credit that were opened without your knowledge. Checking your credit also helps you discern if you’ve been a victim of identity theft. With the comprehensive data that is stated on your credit reports, it is easy to identify which transactions are valid and those that are not. Consumers are entitled to request a free copy of their credit report from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union each year.
The biggest mistake by cardholders is that they assume that credit card fraud is not as serious as identity theft. They suppose that since most financial institutes cover the majority of the liability for lost or stolen credit cards, consumers can be more lax when it comes to matters of credit card protection. Negligence on these types of matter will only lead to more detrimental financial issues in the future. It is best to take extra precaution and be more aware to help fight this financial crime and rid our society of credit felons.