Last month Nick lost his credit card. Later it turned out to be a case of theft! The thief made big purchases using poor Nick’s hard-earned money!
And then sometime ago, my neighbor found herself in a credit card fraud. The fraudsters impersonated as bank people and asked away all the important details from Mrs. Stone over the phone.
Plastic money like credit cards and debit cards are inseparable part of the way financial transactions work in the present day world. These card have quite efficiently supplemented the practice of cash changing hands. However, because of relatively more complicated system involved in credit card transactions –it has become very important to remain alert about the safety of your credit cards. Here I am giving you a list of tips that will help you in preventing your credit card against theft and frauds.
- Sign at the back side: When you receive your new credit card, make sure that you put your usual signatures in permanent ink inside the space provided on the back side of the card. These signatures provide additional safety for your card.
- Cut up the old cards: After expiry, all of the old money cards should be cut into several pieces with scissors (preferably from corner to corner diagonally). This makes the job of card duplicators much harder.
- Keep your contact details updated with your bank: Make sure that your address and other contact details are up-to-date in the records of the bank that issued your credit card. It is very important because wrong details may cause your bank to send your replacement card, monthly statements and other communication to a wrong address.
- Keep your card in sight: If you are dining in a hotel or restaurant, you must not let the waiter to take your card away for swiping. Ask them to bring the swiping machine to you or pay up at the counter. Always keep your credit card within your sight.
- Keep in touch with your bank: Get your mobile phone number registered with the bank and keep it updated in case you change it. Banks notify you of transactions happening on your card by sending text messages. It is a good idea to have this service activated.
- Use credit card for small vendors: If you are purchasing something from a not well known vendor, it is better to use credit card instead of your debit card. If your card gets duplicated, such a card can instantly empty your bank account. In case of a credit card, you don’t pay directly from your account. And also, you can report an unusual transaction as not been done by you.
- Keep private information private: You should not disclose private information like date of birth, numbers of various ID cards and other information that is often used as answers to online security questions.
- Be wary of impersonators: Sometimes people with intention of stealing credit card details may call you masquerading as your bank’s call center agent. They will speak in a very call-center agent like tone and will have basic details about you. You should know that your bank’s call center will never ask for your three digit PIN number given on the backside of your card. If they are asking for it –don’t give them and call the call center yourself to report the incident.
- Use a strong password for online banking and card verifications: If you use you credit card for online shopping, you should set strong passwords to access your bank account as well for any other security measure implemented by your bank / credit card merchants (like MasterCard, Visa etc.) Weak passwords are biggest cause of online hacking.
- Keep your credit card number hidden: Try not to take your card out of the wallet in public places or under the gaze of people whom you do not trust. Try to keep number of credit card hidden from public view.
- Traveling abroad: If you go on a foreign trip –it’s better to inform your bank so that they know that your card is in a foreign land and may incur slightly unusual charges.
- Ensure nothing is added on charge receipts: Some people with bad intentions write and add extra amount on the charge slip issued after a credit card transaction. Make sure you don’t leave any space on charge receipts for such endeavors.
- Keep charge receipts safe: It is a good practice that you keep charge receipts safe and tally them with your final statement.
- Report everything that’s unusual: If you find anything at all usual in your statement or anything related with your credit card –you should report it immediately to the issuing bank.
- Keep statements safe: Credit card statements contain information that could be dangerous in the hands of a fraudster. Keep these statements in a safe place.
- Use shredder: When you want to throw away credit card statements –make sure to shred them into tiny pieces before putting them into dustbin. Use of shredder is recommended.
- Report loss or theft: Last but not the least, you should immediately report loss or theft of your credit card to the bank as well as the police. Some banks protect you from any transactions done on stolen/lost credit card after you’ve reported it to the authorities.
As they say, prevention is always better than cure. If you’ll follow these suggestions, you’ll be able to very effectively protect your credit card from thieves and fraudsters.
Do let me know your thoughts on this. And feel free to ask any questions!