According to Homeland Security, credit card fraud can cost as much as $500 million per year. Consumers are using their credit cards more, which increases the pool that fraudsters can target. When card fraud happens, we all pay for it. Credit card companies increase fees such as the charge back fees and these are passed down to the consumer. Consumers must be extra vigilant when using their credit cards and even more careful when maintaining their financial information.
How can you prevent paying for card fraud?
Even though prevention methods have been issued over the years, millions of us only practice some of the safety measures.
We have been told not to carry all our credit cards with us, but how many of us still do. We rationalise that if my credit cards are at home and my home is burgled, I would be no better off. However if my purse is with me at least I could guard it at all times.
Based on the US Department of Justice report which stated there were 2,154,126 burglaries in 2005 compared to 417,122 robberies nationwide for the same year, I can see your point. But why not use a safe or safety deposit box to store your credit cards. Alternatively you can carry your credit cards in a bag or pouch separate from you purse or wallet.
Fraudsters are becoming more and more sophisticated, and although most credit card fraud occurs online, there are some pretty ingenious ways to commit fraud offline as well. Here are some tips to take note of.
When you use your card and it is returned to you, make sure you check the card carefully. Consumers have been faced with huge bills that were made using their credit cards that were stolen without their knowing. This happens when you pass your card to a merchant to pay for goods and your card is switched with an identical expired card that belong to another person.
Some fraudsters are bold enough to pose as staff at restaurants and sidewalk cafes and without you seeing, simply walk off with your card when you hand it over to pay for a meal. Do not let your credit card out of your site at all. Let your attendant bring a portable card machine to you or make your way to the till to pay for your items.
If you complete a credit card application that you did not post, make sure you shred or burn it. Fraudsters are not beyond searching through your garbage to find items such as credit card receipts, old check books or anything that can give them personal information about you.
There are many other tips for credit card safety; these are just a few to remind you of the need for safety. While the credit card companies try to implement safety measures like chip and pin, the responsibility lies with you the consumer to guard and protect your credit card.