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Credit card fraud

Credit Card Theft and
Credit Card Fraud:
Don't Become a Victim

Credit card theft and credit card fraud can be a major worry for all of us, yet we don't have to become an easy target for thieves and fraudsters.  If we take some easy and sensible steps to ensure our information and our cards are as safe as we can possibly make them, the chances that we will run up against any credit card theft and credit card fraud can be greatly reduced.

Read through the following points to see how safe you and your cards are at the moment.  Be sure to make any changes needed to reduce your chances of falling victim to credit card theft and credit card fraud:

Take sensible precautions

Waving your credit card around in public is never a good idea.  When you go shopping, make sure you put your card away before leaving the shop, rather than wandering outside with it still in your hand.  If you do this when your mind is still firmly on the purchases you have just made, you are laying yourself wide open for opportunists to snatch your card and commit credit card theft.  A lot of credit card theft is by people who take your card directly off your person, and while this brings with it a degree of risk in getting caught, why leave yourself open to the possibility?

Always keep an eye on your card

Skimming has become more prevalent in recent years, and while you can't protect yourself one hundred per cent of the time (some skimmers have been known to commit credit card fraud by getting the information off a credit card right in front of the customer), you can take sensible steps to reduce your chances of falling victim to fraudsters swiping the important information straight off your card.  Don't let anyone walk off with your card when you are paying for a meal in a restaurant for example – it only takes seconds for someone to steal your information and commit credit card theft or credit card fraud.

Online security precautions

You might think you're safe from credit card fraud when you're sitting in your own home, but that's not always the case.  Credit card theft can still involve someone stealing your information without stealing your card, so make sure your computer has the proper security barriers set up to protect you.  Using a recognised and recommended security suite and firewall will help, and make sure that whenever you make a payment online you only do so through a secure connection.  Look for the https:// before the web address, and a padlock symbol to denote an encrypted connection.  If you don't see those two items, you're at risk for credit card theft and credit card fraud, so don't pay.

Stay in the know

If you use your credit card a lot and don't check your bills, you could fall victim to credit card fraud without even realising.  Don't forget that credit card theft doesn't actually have to involve your card nowadays; if someone steals your information to create a duplicate card, you could have fraudulent transactions appearing on it without realising.  Check your statements every month to make sure no credit card fraud has been associated with your card.  If you see something you aren't sure about, phone your card issuer to discuss it.

Be careful when using cash machines

Getting cash out with a credit card can be expensive – but it can be even more costly if someone sees your pin number while you're doing it and then snatches your card.  This kind of credit card theft is an opportunist crime, but it still happens.  Be alert when you are using cash machines and always cover the keypad when entering your pin number.  Watch out for anything suspicious attached to it as well.  If in doubt, keep yourself safe from credit card fraud and find another cash machine.

While no set of rules will ever keep you completely safe from credit card theft and credit card fraud, you can reduce your chances of becoming a victim a lot by being sensible and following the above steps.  Don't give the fraudsters and thieves and easy time of it – stay in control and make sure that if you were a victim of credit card fraud or credit card theft, you would know about it virtually straightaway.

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