Are you aware of how many ways there are for thieves to take access to your credit card accounts and make unauthorized charges against your account? Simply by rummaging through old receipts that you have thrown out or left somewhere public, or by a shop assistant quickly scribbling down your card details while they are out of your sight, or by an untrustworthy seller who you give your details to on the phone, by mail or on the internet, your private account details can be taken and abused by anyone.
While most of these situations are quite rare, and there are safety measures in place to avoid the abuses they highlight, it is a fact that credit card fraud and identity theft is a growing problem that is costing the financial services industry more and more each year. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers and be familiar with a few simple steps you can take to reduce the risk that you will become the victim of identity theft.
Take The Right Steps
One of the simplest steps you can take is to sign all your cards on the signature strip on the back as soon as they arrive. You can also consider carrying your cards separately from your wallet and driver’s license so that if someone were to find them, they wouldn’t necessarily have your identity and address. Keep your pin numbers etc. somewhere safe and never with your cards. If it is possible, the safest thing to do is to memorize and then destroy pin numbers.
If your card is out of sight during a transaction try to see what is going on behind the counter and seek to get it back as soon as possible. While still relatively rare, there is a lot of information on your card, which can be copied and used later on. You should destroy receipts if you do not need them. You should also check carefully all your monthly statements and make sure that all charges were in fact made by you. IF you have any doubts, contact your card issuer immediately to sort it out.
Dos and Don’ts
Never leave your cards lying around where others can get access to them and don’t lend your card to anyone. Don’t sign blank receipts and never give your account details over the phone, by mail, or on the Internet unless you are sure you are dealing with a company that you know and can trust.
If you do suspect fraud, or if you lose your cards, report it immediately to your card issuer. By following these simple steps you should be able to considerably reduce the risks of card fraud being perpetrated against you.