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Preventing Credit Card Fraud - 12 Top Tips

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/24/2007 | Finance

Many people enjoy the convenience of paying for goods and services with a credit card. Unfortunately, some people become victims of the growing problem of credit card fraud. The first you may know of fraudulent activity on your credit card account is seeing unauthorized transactions on your statement.

Here are 12 simple steps to minimize the possibility of fraud on your credit card account:

1. Keep both your personal and credit card information secure. Never email your credit card details. Email is not a secure method of transmitting data and can be intercepted by criminals.

2. When you receive a new credit card always sign it immediately.

3. When you receive a replacement credit card always destroy the old card immediately. Cut the old card into at least three pieces.

4. Make sure you thoroughly destroy old receipts that have your card details printed on them. The most effective method is to use a shredder.

5. Open and read your credit card statement as soon as you receive it. Check to make sure you know what all the payments printed on the statement were for.

6. If you see transactions on your credit card statement that you do not recognize, immediately contact your bank or credit card company.

7. If you cannot find your credit card for any reason, immediately telephone the card issuing company and tell them. They will block the card to prevent any unauthorized use.

8. Never tell anyone your Personal Identification Number, which allows cash withdrawals using your credit card.

9. Make sure your Personal Identification Number is not easy to guess. Avoid using numbers that are easy to trace, for example do not use your date of birth. Ensure you use a different Personal Identification Number for each individual credit card.

10. Do not use an ATM if you suspect it has been tampered with. Report your suspicion to the bank that operates the ATM.

11. When you use your credit card in a retail store always keep a watch on your card while the clerk processes the payment. Double check it is your card that is handed back to you.

12. If you use your credit card to make online purchases, always ensure the web page where you enter your credit card details is secure. A secure web page has a URL that begins https:// and an image of a locked padlock in the bottom right hand corner of the browser window.

Following these simple precautions will reduce the possibility of you becoming a victim of credit card fraud. Your bank or credit card company may have further information on minimizing the risk of credit card fraud, so it is worth contacting them.