With the widespread use of cards instead of currency, credit card theft or fraud is a prevalent crime in today’s society. There are a multitude of ways that a criminal can steal your credit card information and use it to their advantage, but there are also some very straightforward ways this can be avoided. By playing it safe with your credit cards and taking some simple steps, you can greatly reduce the threat of this happening to you.
Credit card theft happens when someone is able to access your credit card number and make purchases with it. If a criminal has your social security number or other identifiable information, then they can also apply for cards in your name and commit credit card fraud. To avoid this, first be sure that you never allow your social security number to fall into the wrong hands as this is the main way in which credit cards are accessed or obtained.
Any documents that contain personal information should be shredded before they are discarded as anyone who goes through your trash may be able to find it, and this is a common way that crooks get that information. Also, avoid putting your social security number on any checks or allowing it to be paired with your name on documents that are out of your hands.
Credit card information should be disposed of in the same way. With any account information, especially that including your account number, be sure to shred before discarding. It is a good idea to always view your account statements thoroughly as well. Address anything that looks suspicious with your card company. If you haven’t received a statement in a while, and perhaps are missing one altogether, call your credit card company immediately and request a statement.
To avoid the threat from the very onset, always keep your credit cards safe, and if purchasing something on the Internet, make sure the site is secure and safeguarded against people viewing the information that you enter. If your cards have been lost or stolen, always report this to the credit card company immediately. Any delay in reporting a stolen card could effect your credit status in a negative way or void your claim.
Mail fraud and theft is also a common practice for criminals wishing to commit credit card or identity fraud. When mailing bill payments, take them to the post office and put them in the box yourself. Never include credit card information on anything that goes through the mail. If possible, pay the bill online or over the phone in a way that you know is secure, and never give your account or card number to a company that has called you. If it is the first time you are purchasing from a particular company, then do a little research about them before providing them with any of your personal information, especially any that might result in the theft of your credit card number.