Credit card fraud is something that everyone should be aware of. There are several people out there who believe that they are not at risk for such fraud, but the reality is that if you have a credit card, you are at risk. There are also actions that people are doing every day that are putting them at an even higher risk for this type of fraud. Knowing what these actions are can greatly help to lower your chances of becoming a victim. However, keep in mind that no matter what you do, you can still become a victim, which is why it is essential to monitor your statements and credit to pinpoint this fraud before it affects your life severely.
[Read: Unfair Debt Collection Practices: When Debt Collectors Go Too Far!]
Things you May do to Promote Fraud
Credit card fraud occurs every day. However, the things you do today may be making you the target of fraud tomorrow. Here are just some of the ways in which you could be putting yourself at risk:
Loaning your card to others to use
This seems like a no brainer, however, everyday people are letting their relatives or friends use their card to pick up items from a store or the like. Though it may not be this person that commits the credit card fraud, these people may not be as careful with your card, meaning that other people can gain the information from it to use against you.
Utilizing your credit card at a gas pump
Most people do this, but they are taking a huge risk with doing this. Many hackers and criminals are now putting credit card skimmers onto the gas pumps as a gas station. The problem with this, is that the gas station owner may not even realize that this is on one of their pumps. For every person that scans their card, the skimmer is picking up the information. This allows a criminal to commit credit card fraud on a high number of people at once.
Putting pictures of your card online
For many people the thought of this is absurd. After all, with all the identity theft that takes place, doing this is a sure way to get your information stolen. However, there are those who have done just this and posting their credit card numbers online via a picture on social media. Sometimes, this may have been intentional. Other times, you may post a picture with your credit card in the background, and all it takes is the wrong person to notice this and zoom in on the information.
Losing a credit card
This is most often how credit card fraud occurs. You may have lost the card or had the card information stolen. Those who lose their cards or suspect stolen information need to cancel the card as soon as possible so that thieves cannot rack up charges on these.
Downloading attachments via email from a source that is unknown
If you were to download an attachment from some unknown source, you never know what you have invited into your computer network. Many times criminals are putting in spyware to spy on those who download the link. The spyware may be collecting the credit card information for the hacker to utilize later.
Shopping with a business that has had a data breach
This is an issue that leads to more credit card fraud these days than almost all other methods out there. Data breaches are becoming more common place, but you cannot stop shopping for the things that you may need or want. However, the best way to prevent this is to utilize cash when shopping. Otherwise, you are going to want to ensure that you are keeping a close eye on all that is taking place.
What to do if you Suspect Fraud
If you do suspect that credit card fraud has happened to you, there are several things that you need to do:
- Contact your credit card company immediately and let them know of the issue
- Monitor other accounts, including your bank account and the like to ensure that criminals were not able to get information from these accounts as well
- Let the credit bureaus know if you feel that these criminals could use the information to stela your identity, as the bureaus will put an alert on your file so that new accounts cannot be opened
- Once you get your new credit card, be sure to put “Ask for ID” on the back where the signature goes, as this can make it harder for someone to steal and use if this on the back
- Also ensure that you are taking care of information on your computer and protecting this through using protection software
[Read: Your Rights With Credit Reports]
Having to go through a situation in which fraud has occurred is nerve racking. That is why you want to do all that you can do now to prevent this from happening.