“Sign your cards as soon as you receive them,” credit card providers urge consumers.
Technically, most brick-and-mortar retailers are not allowed to accept unsigned credit cards. They may actually insist customers sign their unsigned cards in the store before accepting them.
Cashiers and salespeople are clearly instructed to compare the signature on the credit card with that on the sales slip, as soon as a customer has signed it. (If they do not match, the card may be confiscated or even destroyed.)
Some stores will even train their employees to look customers in the eyes and call them by name, as they return the credit cards and receipts.
Recently, several consumers have begun writing “CHECK PHOTO ID” in the signature lines of their credit cards. An online urban legend has perpetuated this by claiming this will increase credit security. However, many stores will refuse to accept these credit cards.
A few simple steps can increase consumers’ credit card safety:
1. Do sign your credit cards immediately. Work on your signature, if need be, so that it is not so easily copied.
2. Keep credit cards in a secure spot.
3. Keep track of all receipts, particularly those bearing your card number.
4. Check your credit card each time a checker returns it to you. (Substitutions may occur.)
5. Review your monthly statements carefully, and report any unauthorized charges.