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5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud

Personal Finance
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Looking for ideas and approaches you can do to prevent yourself from being a victim to credit card fraud?

Credit card fraud has grown into a leading personal finance problem with 9 million Americans suffering identity theft annually according to the Federal Trade Commission.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft entails the scammer acquiring a credit card or opening an account under a person’s name using their social security number or other person-specific details to validate the account.

The scammer uses the account as a credit source for their expenses, leaving the registered person hefty bills.

The law provides for the person to pay only $50 per card if they report the fraud with haste. This, however, still leaves a heavy burden on the registered card holder since the credit card firm recovers its lost revenues through increased interest rates and higher premiums charged on their clientele.

There are a number of approaches you can take to protect yourself from such fraudulent occurrences.

Pay attention to teller actions

When using credit cards, you should pay keen attention to the teller’s actions during the transaction to ensure that nothing criminal occurs.

Immediately when they complete charging the card it should be returned to your possession. As for receipts, cross out any unfilled regions before you sign them.

Keep an updated mailing address

Keep your mailing address up to date with the personal finance providers to avoid unauthorized individuals from obtaining your information.

This should help you determine if anyone has filed for a change in address on your behalf to obtain your personal details.

Reconcile your accounts monthly

The Federal Trade Commission recommends that you reconcile your accounts every month to enable swift identification of fraudulent activity in your billing accounts.

This gives you ample time to report it to the relevant service provider. This condition requires you to save all your receipts for comparison with the bills.

Keep your Social Security Number confidential

Keep confidential your personal details, such as your social security number.

Not carrying your identification documents and credit cards together with your wallet can go a long way in reducing the risk of exposure due to wallet theft.

Report fraudulent activity in writing

In the occurrence of fraudulent activity in your accounts, you should report the activity, preferably in writing, to the personal finance service provider.

A copy of the written complaint acts as proof of the complaint itself, which gives you a better gearing in case of legal action.

Don’t give account details over the phone

Lastly, a bit obvious but important to mention, you should not give your credit card account details over phone calls unless you make the call yourself, and even then only to trusted companies. The same principle should apply for websites.

Photo credit: skibler via photopin cc

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