As the phenomenal number of credit cards in use on this planet continues to grow on a daily basis, it perhaps stands to reason that by extension, so too will the number of instances of credit card fraud. Although credit card providers and all reputable companies and businesses who accept credit cards as payment for goods and services strive on an ongoing basis to develop new fraud prevention measures and verification techniques, it appears that many fraudsters are matching their efforts in coming up with new and innovative methods of their own to circumnavigate these security procedures. The onus for preventing credit card fraud does lie to a certain extent with credit card issuers and retailers but a large part of it also lies with credit card users and everyone who owns and operates a credit card should be aware that they have considerable responsibility to guard both their credit card and themselves against fraudulent activity.
There are many steps which one can take with regards to credit card fraud prevention and the first tip comes when one actually receives one’s credit card and PIN. The first step is to sign the card on the signature strip on the reverse with a ballpoint pen. This prevents loss of an unsigned card which anyone could effectively sign and present for payment. The PIN should then be memorised where possible and the advice note regarding same securely destroyed. If it is not possible to memorise the PIN – at least at first – it should be recorded in a coded method and kept separate from the card. If appropriate, the card should then be activated by calling the number provided in order to do so.
It is always a good idea to record the telephone number required to report loss or theft of one’s credit card and to have it ready to hand at all times. This allows the credit card provider to be notified in the most timely fashion in the event of any such unfortunate occurrence and can ensure that a credit card is cancelled before a fraudster has time to do any significant damage.
One should always remember that one should never disclose one’s PIN to anyone, even a member of staff from the credit card issuing company or someone purporting to be so. There are no circumstances in which anyone would be required to know a credit card holder’s PIN and one should share this number only with appropriate card reader devices.
“Phishing,” is a process whereby fraudsters contact credit card holders by e-mail, often very convincingly claiming to be from one’s credit card issuer, requesting security details regarding the card and the account. No credit card provider will ever make such a request of its customers and where one does receive such an e-mail, one should contact one’s credit card provider as soon as possible and request an e-mail address to which it may be forwarded for investigation.
When one is carrying one’s credit card around, it is imperative that this be done in a secure fashion. Credit cards should never be carried loose but rather in a wallet/billfold/purse and ideally in perhaps an inside, zipped pocket. Simply dropping a credit card on the street by accident can very often lead to fraud or pick-pocketing can be a way of fraudsters getting a hold of credit card details for unscrupulous purposes.
Where one uses one’s credit card is another area where one has to be extremely careful in order to limit the chances of credit card fraud. This is particularly true online and care should be taken as far as possible that the site from which one is making a purchase be a reputable one. It is important to remember particularly that security details should never be disclosed to retailers of this or any type.
Credit card fraud prevention can actually begin to sound quite frightening when one considers in full the number of ways in which one can fall victim to this crime. By being aware of the above procedures at all times, however, protecting one’s card to the best of one’s ability and exercising common sense with regards to how one uses one’s card and the information one provides to third parties, the chances of being a victim of credit card fraud can be reduced very effectively to negligible proportions.