H is for How to Help Prevent Credit Card Fraud.

Card Security

The sad truth is that credit card fraud happens every day. There are certain circumstances when you may have no control. You can however, create a variety of obstacles making it difficult for the fraudulent seeker to get hold of your cards and personal information.

The largest form of credit card fraud is theft. This can happen through high tech hacking or simple trash discoveries by the thief. It is therefore important to maintain a meticulous account of all your credit cards and account numbers. This along with the following recommendations may help prevent potential fraudulent activity.

  • Never lend your card to anyone and always make sure it is returned to you immediately after a purchase.
  • Do not leave your cards, receipt or statements lying around your home or office. They contain sensitive information and should be kept in a safe place — Always SHRED your documents before you discard.
  • Keep a record of your account numbers, expiration dates and the phone number to report fraud for each card in a secure place.
  • Make sure you use a reputable company when making credit card purchases online. To be sure a website is secure, look for a lock in the lower right corner of your internet browser.
  • Save your receipts and compare with your statements in a timely manner. Discovering discrepancies sooner than later can help you report the fraudulent purchases to the card issuer.
  • Examine your credit report — you are entitled to one free report every year from each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) You can reach them separately or go to annualcreditreport.com. Scan for abnormal activity, such as accounts or credit cards you didn’t open.
  • Notify your card issuer if your address changes or if you will be traveling overseas.
  • Do not leave delivered packages in your doorway or mailbox for an extended time. This may make your purchase information available to predators.
  • Report a lost or stolen card immediately. Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24 hour service to assist you.
  • If you detect fraudulent activity, notify the financial institution immediately and have them freeze your account.

You may not be able to prevent hackers completely but you can take a proactive stance by using the above recommendations.

Answers from AZ

About Ann Zuraw

Ann Zuraw, the voice behind "Chicks, Chat and Change", is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™). If you have comments on this post contact Ann Zuraw

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