Tips for Avoiding Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud is a leading form of identity theft with the Internet Crime Complaint Center reporting that, “people lost $559.7 million to online fraud in 2009.” The media is packed with reports of people losing all their savings through credit card theft and the number keeps growing. Online credit card theft is more rampant compared to offline credit card fraud also known as ATM card skimming. This is because fraudsters find using the Internet to perform identity theft easier and more secure on their side since chances of being caught are low. The FBI suggests the following to fight credit card fraud:

Tips to prevent online credit card fraud

• When using your card online, ensure the website is verified. Also, try to check the websites’ reputation at Better Business Bureau (BBB) where applicable.

• Use Verified by VISA or MasterCard SecureCode. The passwords used with these services add a security layer to your credit card.

• Install and keep an updated antivirus or antispyware and firewall on your PC. Scan your computer for malware and spyware regularly.

• When possible, use the Bill Me Later option or PayPal to buy online as this lets you shop online without revealing you credit card information.

• Sign up for I.D theft protection services to alert you when your credit card is used and help track cases of identity theft.

• When you lose your credit card, immediately report it to the issuing bank to cancel it.

Tips to prevent offline credit card fraud or ATM card skimming

• Carry your cards separately from your wallet. This prevents loss in case of pick pocketing, accidentally dropping or forgetting your wallet.

• When using your card at an ATM, lookout for any tampering with the card slot. If you are suspicious of the ATM don’t use it; this will help prevent ATM card skimming.

• Keep an updated documentation of accounts, expiry dates, and details of issuing companies in a secure place.

• Be keen on your card during a transaction. Your card should not be swapped twice for a single charge or at two different machines.

• Compare receipts with billing statements, open bills on time and reconcile accounts monthly or as soon as you can.

• Void incorrect receipts and report any dubious charges to the card issuer.

• Report to your credit card companies in advance when you change your address.


Never leave credit cards or receipts laying around.

Give out your credit card to anyone.

Sign a blank receipt; when signing a receipt, cross out blank spaces above the total.

Never give your account number or password via phone/e-mail nor should you respond to emails or calls asking for your credit card information.

Sources: – Tips for Avoiding Credit Card Fraud

Wells Fargo – Prevent Credit Card Fraud