Credit card users must never let their guards down just because they are not using cash. There are many bad people everywhere who want to take advantage of you, especially during the holiday season where the cases of theft, fraud and stolen identities are high.
And although card issuers, retailers and technology providers try to avoid fraud, the consumers must take every precaution and every effort to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
Here are some tips that can be very useful:
- Upon receiving your new card, sign it immediately. You can even draw a line to disable the blank left after his signature.
- Carry your cards near you at all times and do not lose sight of it when you use them. Avoid carry more cards than you normally would use.
- Avoid duplicate charges by keeping watch at how the cashier or attendant handles your every transaction.
- Avoid leaving coupons purchases made or receipts for cash advances at ATMs.
- Keep all receipts when shopping and compare them to your monthly bill of statement. Make sure that you are charged accordingly specially when buying on sales and if there are duplicate charges. Call your bank immediately when some items will stand out.
- Do not lend your card to anyone, or leave as “security deposit” anywhere. If that card is used without your consent then it is because of your own carelessness.
- Never reveal your PIN (Personal Identification Number) to anyone, or write it down. This number should be memorized and should not be the same for your other cards. Avoid using PINs that are obvious data such as your date of birth, phone number or last numbers of your social security.
- Never give your card number and expiration date (or any personal information) by telephone, unless you have initiated the call itself. Be aware of “offers”, “specials” and “rewards” received via telephone or Internet, and avoid providing personal and financial details, however genuine they may seem.
- When using the card electronically by computer, be sure to use a “safe place” in the Internet, usually identified by a key symbol and small padlock in the lower left side of your browser window and the colors are in green.
- Inform your bank of any change in address or phone numbers and when traveling to foreign land where you will use your card. Your credit card company may need to contact you to verify your card transactions.
- Write down a record of your card numbers, expiration dates, addresses, and phone numbers of issuers in case of theft of loss. Hide that list properly, you don’t want other people seeing that list.
- Never sign a blank receipt.
- Before you throw away any receipt or voucher purchase, statement, or document containing information of your finances, destroy it so that these data cannot be used to counterfeit or stole your identity.
- Before returning a card to the bank that issued it, be sure to cut it into several pieces and to document the receipt.
- When using an ATM or when paying for you purchases in which you need to enter your PIN, make sure to cover with the other hand before you enter your password. In case of difficulties, do not accept help from strangers.
- If your card is lost, stolen or for any reason you think you may be a victim of fraud, report it immediately to your bank or credit card issuer. They will reset the card with the account number change, and help you with what to do next.