Credit Card Fraud Risks and Prevention

As more and more people have come to rely on their debit and credit cards for a greater portion of their spending, the risk of credit card fraud has increased. There are a seemingly infinite number of scams just waiting to take hold of an unsuspecting card user. Whether it be through internet ads, email, post mail, or telemarketing, would-be frauds are hoping to steal your money. Knowing the risks that you face and the ways that you can protect yourself can help to keep you safe from credit card fraud.

Signs of Fraudulent Scams

There are certain clues that you can pick up on to determine if an offer over the phone, through mail, or on the internet is a fraud. Keep an eye out for these common tactics used to hoodwink credit card holders into giving away their money:

  • You won a contest or lottery. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you didn’t sign up for a drawing, contest, or lottery, this is a sure fire sign that someone is trying to scam you.
  • Unsolicited phone calls. You may get a phone call from someone claiming to know you through your business or your bank. If they ask for information, tell them you will call them back. If it is a scam they will likely not give you a phone number to return their call.
  • Asking for personal information. If someone claims to be an employee from your bank or work and asks for your personal information, remember that they should already have it. Don’t give your social security number out over the phone, and don’t reveal sensitive information such as your bank account number or mother’s maiden name.
  • ATMs or websites that look insecure or modified. If an ATM looks like it has been tampered with, don’t use it. If you pay bills or access your bank account information online, be sure that the website is secure. Websites that begin with “https” are http secure websites, meaning that they contain encryption to protect users. Any website that accepts payments or financial information should have a http secure website. Otherwise, don’t use it.

These are just some of the many scams that you may come across as a credit card user. If you notice something out of the ordinary or feel that something is “just not right”, ignore the communication and do not provide any information. Report the potential scam immediately so that it can be investigated. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Prevention Tips

In addition to detecting the above potential scams, there are other preventative steps that you can take to avoid credit card fraud. These include:

  • Shred receipts and bill statements. When you throw out any receipts, bills, or other financial materials with personal information, be sure to shred them so that you sensitive information can’t later be picked up by someone else.
  • If you lose your card, cancel it immediately. As soon as you notice that your credit or debit card is missing, call your bank and have your card canceled. Your creditor will happily cancel your card to avoid identity theft or credit card fraud and will send you a new card.

Taking preventative action to protect yourself is the best way to minimize your risk of becoming a victim of credit card fraud.