Protecting Yourself from Credit Card Fraud

December 5, 2013 - Christen
Keeping your finances on track can seem like a tedious task, but it’s one of the most important things you can do for yourself, particularly since there are so many ways for the bad guys to get hold of your account information and potentially ruin your credit. Credit card fraud is one of the most prevalent ways that people fall victim to thieves.
 
Here are several ways to help prevent your credit card information from getting into the wrong hands, or at least diminish the damage if it happens.  
 
Monitor Your Accounts Regularly
Monitoring your credit card activity on a regular basis will help keep you on top of what’s happening in your accounts. In addition to any credit monitoring that your creditor may have in place, by keeping a watchful eye on your accounts, you might notice any odd charges early on and can react quickly to stop any fraud. 
 
Do Not Provide Your Credit Card Number Over the Phone
Credit card crooks have many ways to access their victim’s credit card information, including through unsolicited phone calls. By not providing your credit card information over the phone, you’re diminishing your chances of being their next victim.
 
Shop Online with Caution
While no website is 100 percent safe, there are two general indications that a site is secure.  A closed padlock near the site’s browser indicates that a site is secure. To double check this security feature, click on or hover over the icon. It should be an actual working link that provides information on the security of the website. The second way to tell is by looking at the URL. If the URL begins with http it is not secure. If it begins with https, it generally is secure.
 
Communicate with Your Creditor
If you have lost or misplaced your credit card, be sure to contact your creditor immediately. Whether you have actually lost it or believe you may have misplaced it, notifying your creditor puts them on alert and allows them to help you verify the last few charges that were made and see any unauthorized charges that may be pending approval. 
 
Beware of Phishing
Phishing attacks use “spoofed” emails and fraudulent websites designed to get recipients to divulge personal financial data such as credit card numbers, account user names and passwords, Social Security numbers, etc. If you receive an email from your financial institution, a retailer, government agency or other business asking that you contact them immediately, do not respond to them through the email you received. Instead, contact the company directly or visit their website using a URL that you know to be accurate.
 
Monitor Your Credit Annually
Review your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion —to ensure everything is accurate. You are entitled to one free credit report each year. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com for more information.
 
Have you been the victim of credit card fraud? What actions have you taken to try to minimize the risk of it happening again?
 
While we believe the external website listed above to be reputable, we neither endorse it nor can vouch for its complete accuracy. AC: 1213-6980

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