Many people are anxious about falling victim to credit card fraud. Even if the transactions are taken off your account, it can still be a hassle to sort out. Plus it's alarming to realise that someone has used your card details. So how can you minimise the risk? Here are some ways to help avoid credit card fraud …
One way to help avoid credit card fraud is to only use your credit card on a secure internet connection. Public wi-fi isn't safe; anyone could tap into it, so never use it for financial transactions. Either connect to your own phone provider, or wait until you get home. You should also ensure that your home wireless network is secured with a password.
Watch your card at all times, as many incidences of cloned cards happen when the card is taken out of the owner's sight. If you hand over your card as payment, insist that the transaction is completed in front of you. Don't let anyone take it to a back room or where you can't see it.
Phishing scams are unfortunately very common, and come in the form of a message that claims to be from your bank or card issuer. Most of the time, it's easy to spot as a scam, since the majority of people who receive the message don't have an account with that bank. But if you do receive a message apparently from your bank, never click on links in the message.
Fraudsters can do quite a lot with the information on your statements, so always shred your paperwork before recycling or throwing it away. Make sure that it cannot be pieced back together - people can go through garbage looking for paperwork like this. And when you move house, always inform companies of your change of address, and have your mail redirected, so that nobody else gets hold of it.
You should always check your statements carefully, to see if there are any transactions you don't recognise. Fraudsters will often 'test out' a card with a small transaction to see if it goes unnoticed, and if not they will take bigger amounts. Keep all receipts and make a note of internet purchases to check against the statement; companies may charge your purchase under a different name. But if there's something that you're sure you didn't spend, contact your card provider.
As well as only using secure connections for purchases, always check that you're on a secure page. The address should begin with https, and there should be a padlock in the taskbar. It's also best not to click on links in messages, but instead go to your bank's homepage and navigate from there.
Finally, you can contact your card provider and request a transaction limit to be set. This means that you will receive an alert if any purchases are attempted above this limit. Do contact your bank if you are traveling abroad, as otherwise they may flag overseas transactions as suspicious and block the card.
With care, you can reduce your chances of becoming the victim of credit card fraud. Always keep your card safe and never give anyone the PIN. Have you ever had your card or details stolen?
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