Credit Card Fraud Protection – A Few Scam Busting Steps
Millions of dollars have been lost to credit card fraud, prompting authorities to go into an alert mode to check further attempts by thieves who have become increasingly adept in carrying out the crime. But would-be victims can steer clear of the problem by putting up a defense in advance and remaining vigilant at all times.
US consumers are heavy credit card users, Forbes said in a report, noting as well that the prevailing trend offers rosy prospects for crooks to commit credit card fraud. The crime is a major concern of authorities these days, leading to hundreds of millions in losses while wrecking the lives of countless Americans.
However, unlike ID theft, dealing with cases of credit card fraud is easier and when detected early the whole problem is reduced to mere inconvenience, according to Fox Business. Handled appropriately, credit card fraud can prove less of the disaster that newspapers have painted it to be. Correct situation management, of course, is inclusive of assuming a proactive position that will help prevent credit scams from victimizing you.
Stop the fraud before it happens.
Think of something that preludes the ‘main event’. A lost wallet, for example, is an effective way for thieves to grab your personal information, including your credit card particulars. You can diminish its effect by reporting the loss immediately but the preventive measures don’t stop there. If you have a way of monitoring your accounts regularly, such as online banking, or a monitoring service, then by all means do so while keeping an eye on any changes. If something is amiss, alert your card provider immediately.
Watch out for skimming operations.
One of the do’s and don’ts to prevent credit card fraud is to know how to use it with a high concern for security. We read the screaming headlines of irregularities that involve organized criminal organizations trying to defraud card holders. In many cases, their enterprise proved successful. You need not, however, join the ranks of victims. You must have a clear idea of what skimming is, which is the copying of details stored in your card. It happens in the brief period that your card was out of sight like when you allowed a waiter or waitress to swipe the card for you. When paying your bill, never for a moment surrender your card and keep your eyes on it at all times until the transaction has ended.
Don’t leak your private data online.
If you must shop through your favorite retail websites, ensure first that the machine you use is fully-protected by security softwares. Invest in a personal PC and safeguard it by installing anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall, all of which are available for free downloads.
The Wall Street Journal strongly recommends the use of a credit card over a debit card. The former tool offers more security layers and is open for disputes while the latter automatically takes away the money from your account. That means no room to rectify errors. After the shopping session, clear your browser cache to erase your login details and password from the system. This will plug any holes for the data to be accessed by anyone. It is also wise to change the password regularly and do this every month if possible.
Ignore phishing messages.
These fraudulent emails are easy to spot, according to Fox Business, adding that “unsolicited phone call, email, text or social media message could be a phishing attempt. They request credit or debit card data or personal information, or link to another website or web page.” It will serve you well to delete these messages immediately. Or if you wish to satisfy your curiosity, call up of your bank and credit providers using their hotline numbers for customer care to verify.
Connect to the NET safely.
Your secured computing tool will be for nothing if you jump into every available network connection indiscriminately, Fox Business said. Getting online through public Wi-Fis is a security no-no so omit hotels, cafes and airports from your list of online safe zones. Be wary too of unsecured sites. Notice the HTTPS prefix to the address of your favorite social networking site plus the small lock icon? They indicate safe surfing moments. Get out post-haste if you don’t see them.
Report the incidents of credit card fraud.
Aside from informing your card providers, file reports of possible irregularities to the police and credit bureaus,CNN Money said. In cases of lost credit cards and other identifying documents, getting credit monitoring will add up to your protection and likely prevent financial losses. The resulting fraud alerts and credit freeze will put a barrier between your credit accounts and prying criminals, preventing them from accomplishing anything minus your clearance.
The measures spelled out above are meant both to thwart credit scams and prevent identity theft. As pointed out earlier, credit card fraud can be relegated to a vexing incident but the bigger problems loom once a full-blown true-name hoax sets in. You can safeguard your credit card info and your ID though by practicing active vigilance, which experts said laid the ground for your defense against breach attempts.