Credit card identity theft is on the rise, and if you are not careful you could become a victim and lose hundreds or even thousands of pounds. Your identity is your most precious thing, and if someone gets hold of it they can make it look like you have spent vast sums and got yourself into debt. By the time you know the money has been spent, the thieves might have racked up many different credit card debts, as well as other loans and financial products. It pays to know how to prevent identity theft, so here are some tips about how to do just that.
Be careful with mail offers
One of the most common ways that thieves can get hold of information is to intercept or remove from rubbish credit card mail offers. Although many people remember to get rid of bills and other items properly, they forget about these items, as they believe they are junk mail. However, many of them have information about you on them and only require a thief to sign the document and send it back to obtain a credit card. If they get the card before you do then they can spend money in your name. Make sure that you properly shred or dispose of any financial mail, whether you think it is junk mail or not.
Keep all records safe
Apart from destroying unwanted mail, you have to make sure that any letters or records that you want to keep are stored safely. Although many people store their records safely at home, they forget about new records such as bank statements when they are out and about. Many people have their information stolen by leaving a bank statement lying around whilst at work or out somewhere. Make sure this does not happen by keeping all your important documents safe and secure.
Be safe online
Another way that thieves can steal your information is through the Internet. Make sure that you only use your credit card on web sites that you trust, and never give your information to over an email or phone call. Make sure that the page where you enter your details is secure using HTTPS, and try and limit your online credit card use to your home computer rather than in public places.
Check your statements
The trouble with identity theft is that you don’t usually know it has occurred until it is too late. The best way to stop identity theft before it gets out of hand is to regularly check your credit card statements. You also keep all your receipts and compare them with your statement so you will easily be able to see if there is anything out of place. If there is something on your statement that looks wrong or odd, contact your card issuer immediately and they will be able to help you.
You are covered
Although identity theft can be a big problem, if you can prove that you did not buy any items or give up your information, then your card issuer should be able to refund all or part of the money that was taken. If you follow these simple steps then you will be less likely to become a victim of credit card identity theft.
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Peter Kenny is a writer for The Thrifty Scot, please visit us at Loans and Bank Charges
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