Ways to prevent Credit Card Fraud
Every year, the reported cases on credit card frauds seem to be growing on an alarming rate. While some credit card fraud may involve large amount, some of them may fall below $200. But when you consider the number of people that use credit cards, it should not surprise you while the reported amount on credit card fraud can be staggering. The emphasis here is not even on the amount of money involved. Whether the amount involved in the fraud is one dollar or five thousand dollars, fraud is fraud. The painful thing about credit card fraud is that, the owner of the card must have relied that he is having certain amount in his account. This must have caused him to make certain commitment. Unfortunately, he will be caught unprepared as he may be unable to meet his financial obligations. This might in turn hurt his credit. In fact, credit card fraud is better imagined than experienced. Those people that have been victims will know that it is not a good experience. Even, if the amount of the fraud is insignificant, there is no way one will not fill cheated. Prevention is better than cure. That is why I will be sharing tips on how to guide against such credit card.
How to Prevent Credit Card Fraud
- Keep your card secure: The way you handle your card is a major factor that will determine whether you will fall victim of credit card fraud. You should keep your card in a place that is not freely accessible to people. For instance, if you work in an open office where people equally have access to your drawer, it will be considered unsafe if you should keep your credit card in such drawer. My policy on this is that, I don’t keep my credit card where I can’t keep my cash. If your cash is not safe, your credit card cannot be safe either.
- Don’t keep your PIN and your card the same place: Your PIN is to provide additional security to your card. That is, if someone gains access to your credit card; that may not mean the person will be able to use it. If he does not know your PIN, then the PIN becomes a guess work for him. As part of the security measure, there is a limit to the number of times one can enter wrong PIN. When the number is exceeded, the system will automatically log the user out.
- Contact your financial institution: Peradventure, you credit card gets stolen, you have the responsibility of contacting your credit card company immediately. When you report the loss, your financial institution will block the card so that nobody will be able to use it to perform any transaction. However, if your card is stolen and it has been used for transactions, the law offers protection to card holders t certain extent. There is a limit to the amount which you can be held responsible to pay. I don’t want to mention any amount here as it may differ from state to state
- Don’t expose keypad when typing: You don’t know who may be watching over your shoulder when typing your PIN. For this reason, you should endeavour to cover the keypad when entering your PIN. You can use your left hand to cover the keypad or you can bend forward to cover the people at the back from watching over your shoulder
- Change your PIN regularly: If you suspect that your PIN could have been compromised, don’t hesitate to change it immediately. Besides, you can make it a policy to change your TIN on a regular basis. It is always safer to use random numbers rather than figures in sequence. Certain numbers are predictable such as 1111, 0000, 1234. Avoid using this type of TIN.
- Don’t use unsecure mailbox: When you apply for credit card, you will be asked for your preferable pick up option. I like to say that it is risky to use a mailbox that is not secure. There have been reported cases of loss of credit cards or statements in the mail box.
- Shred expired cards or unused statement: How do you dispose your expired credit card? Don’t be surprised that expired cards can still expose you to credit card fraud. The perpetrator may not be able to use the expired credit card to make any transaction. However, it can be used to open a new card. So, don’t be careless with your expired cards. Make sure you shred it instead of just throwing it into your waste bin. Another thing is your statement. Your statement contains vital information about you. Therefore, after you have checked through your statement and you found no error or mistakes there, it is better to shred it unless you have a safe place to file it.
- Use your card only on secured websites: There are many scammers online these days. In most cases, they perpetrate their schemes through fake websites. Sometimes, you see websites that mimic a name of a well-recognized organization. If you are not familiar with the original website of the organization, you can easily mistake the fake one to be the real website. If you mistakenly supply your credit information on such websites, you are on your way to being swindled. If you want to avoid credit card fraud, it is suggested that you only use your card on secured websites. How can you identify a secured website? You will see something like a padlock at the beginning of the url of the website. Some of them actually begin with “https” instead of just “http”. The “s” after “http” actually represents “secured”.
- Check through your statement on monthly basis. If you really want to guide against credit card fraud, then you should not be lazy checking through your statement every month. If you notice any strange inquiry on your credit which you did not authorise, please don’t take it with levity. Some people will ignore it since it does not involve any withdrawal from their account. This practice is not safe. Whatever you don’t understand in your statement, you better make inquiry. Apart from any intention to commit credit card fraud, there can be mistakes in your statement. If not corrected, it may impair your credit score. That is why it is important to ensure you get and review your statement every month. It can either be a paper statement or online statement.
Read Also: How to Get Your Free Credit Report
- Don’t disclose information about your card on phone: Lately, my wife has been receiving series of calls from someone who claimed to be her new account manager asking about some vital information about her account. I just advised her not to give out any information that relates to the account. I advised her to tell the person that she would be coming to their office on a particular day. By then, she would be able to give the information and at the same time have a physical interaction with the person. I am not saying that the person was fake neither do I mean that he planned any credit card fraud. But it is safer not to disclose the information about your account to anyone on phone. You may not know who may be listening. If you make this a policy, you will not fall a victim when credit card fraud perpetrator calls you.
- Avoid checking your account using public network. Do you know that computers store your internet browsing history? If you are using public network to browse, the implication is that another person can go to the browsing history on the computer and view all the websites that have been visited on it. Even without internet, one can visit internet browsing history offline. So, if you don’t want to expose yourself unnecessarily to credit card fraud, it is advisable not to check your account nor supply your credit information when using public network.
- Avoid cashier’s tricks: When you think about credit card fraud, you may likely not think that that small and innocent girl at the counter may be a fraudster. Credit card fraudsters are not necessarily hackers. When you present your credit card to the cashier at a supermarket or grocery store, it is very important that you focus your attention on the cashier at that moment. You should monitor what she does with your card. Any distraction can cause you loss. If the cashier succeed in copying your card details, you may as well say bye bye to your account balance. With camera phone, you may not even notice that she has taken a snapshot of your card. And if you are so care free that you expose your PIN to her when typing on the POS keypad, you have succeeded in handling over your account to her.
In conclusion, the list above may not be comprehensive measures to guiding against credit card fraud, the tips discussed above will curb it to some extent. If you know other tips you want to share with others, you can add it as a comment below.