Credit Fraud Secrets Thieves Don't Want You To Know
By Dave Robinson
Have you ever been a victim of credit card fraud? If so, you
know just how traumatic it can be. What’s more, if you don't detected it early
enough, it could leave bad marks on your credit report that could haunt you for
many years. The most commonly thought of credit card fraud is when your wallet
or purse is stolen, and the thief uses your credit cards to make unauthorized
But, with the increasing rate of online buying, another form of credit card
fraud—known as misappropriation—is spreading like wildfire. These days the only
thing a thief needs to create havoc on your credit life is your credit card
number—not your actual card.
Here are just a few ways that this type of fraud can happen to you:
* One day your telephone rings, you answer and the person on the other end
of the line tells you that they have a one time special offer, good for today
only—and that you simply need to provide them with your credit card number to
make a purchase. STOP! Don’t ever give out your credit card number to anyone who
calls you. Only provide this kind of information if you have called the company
to place an order, and you are positive that it is a well-established reputable
* You find that someone has gone through your trash. Then when you receive
your credit card statement, you find that there are dozens of unauthorized
charges. STOP! Always tear up your credit card receipts and bank statements
before putting them in the trash. Better yet, buy a paper shredder from a local
office supply. Many thieves go through unguarded trash bags specifically looking
for your credit card statements.
* You go out to eat in a restaurant and pay the bill with your credit card.
On your next credit card statement, you notice that there are unauthorized
charges that started the same day as your restaurant meal. It turns out that the
waiter made an extra imprint of your card when he rung up your bill, and then
used the number to go shopping. The solution? Many restaurants have placed their
credit card processing centers in plain view of the customer’s sight to combat
this problem. If not, you could follow the waiter to the charge station, and
watch him throughout the process. It’s also important to make sure that they
know that they are being watched.
You may be wondering if there are other measures that you can take to make
sure you aren’t a victim of credit card fraud? Yes there is and here are a few
* If possible, carry your credit cards and other bank information somewhere
other than your wallet or purse. This way, if a thief nabs it, you will be out
only your cash—not your credit cards.
* Another way is to only take the credit card that you intend to use that
day—leave the others at home.
* Make a list of all your credit cards and keep it in a safe place, make
sure to list the numbers and contact information of the issuing company. That
way, if you do lose them, you’ll have the information necessary to contact the
credit card company as soon as you notice the theft.
* Never sign a blank receipt, and always be sure to cross out blank lines.
For example, if you bought something that didn’t require a tip, cross out the
tip line so nobody can add to it later.
* If you're making a purchase online, be sure that you do so via a secure
* If you move, report your new address to your credit card issuer
immediately. Also fill out a change of address form at the post office. Sneaky
thieves are on the look out for people moving, and then watch the mailbox of the
old house, hoping that they can intercept a credit card statement.
Following the above suggestions doesn't guarantee you'll never be a victim
of credit card fraud, but it will greatly reduce your chances
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