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How to Avoid Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft

02.22.2008 · Posted in Credit Cards Articles

Identity theft is all too common this day in age. It seems like the problem is growing to new extremes. As a major facet of identity theft, credit card fraud is also largely preventable by taking basic precautions and using good financial common sense. Read on for a few of the most effective ways to avoid credit card fraud completely.

Keep Your Digits to Yourself

Don’t let anyone borrow your credit card or have access to your credit card number. A large amount of credit card fraud happens simply as a result of not paying close enough attention to who is doing what with your card. Keep tabs on who has your card and for how long. For example, most of the time at retail stores and even at restaurants you can see what’s going on with your card. If at all possible, watch to make sure no one is “mishandling” your credit while processing it.

Destroy Old Receipts

Even though it is now a law in many places that transaction receipts must not display any more than the last few digits of your credit card number as part of the print out, that’s really no guarantee that your personal and credit card info is not still there. Make sure none of the receipts from the use of your credit card are left behind for the next person to see. It’s best to destroy old receipts by shredding them once they’re no longer needed.

Shred Credit Card Applications

Think about how many credit card applications you receive by mail in the course of a month or so. Each and every one of these is practically an invitation for fraudsters to take advantage. They can get them right out of your mailbox or even the trash and fill them out to obtain their own credit card under your name in no time at all. To reduce your chances of becoming a victim, check your mail as soon as possible every day and be sure to shred all unwanted applications before discarding them.

Only Do Business with Secure Websites

The web has a reputation for being sort of the Wild West when it comes to credit cards. The perception is that information is stolen routinely and identity thieves are abundant. While it’s always better to be safe than sorry, this notion of online lawlessness is largely a misperception. In fact, when doing business with reputable businesses online, your credit card info is probably even safer than it would be in a typical offline transaction. Just make sure the connection is secure (look for the padlock logo in your browser) and that you completely trust the company you’re paying.

Review Your Statement

Often considered a last resort when taking steps to avoid credit card fraud, reviewing your account statement line by line is also a surefire way to catch any misuse of your card before it’s too late. Simply by reporting any misuse to your card issuing bank, most liability is averted right then and there. On the other hand, choosing to just pay the bill without looking at the charges listed is a great way to be an ongoing victim of credit card fraud.

Knowing how to avoid credit card fraud is mostly accomplished by being aware of how fraudsters practice their trade, but even more so, by taking easy, basic steps to protect your identity. Don’t allow yourself to be a victim!

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