Dont Become a Victim of Credit Card Fraud

By: J Tillotson

Hundreds of people each year are victims of fraud, and many of these relate to their credit cards. There are many ways for identity thieves to obtain your credit card details but likewise, there are many ways to avoid them.

Because cards can be used at cash machines, always be vigilant when using them. If you notice anything unusual about the machine itself, don't use it, but instead go into the bank and report it. If anyone suspicious is hanging around the machine, go elsewhere. When entering your PIN number, shield the keypad with your body and other hand.

Writing your PIN down is one of the most foolish things to do, so memorise it and destroy the document it came with. Then change it to something else as soon as possible. It's also a good idea to change the PIN for your credit cards regularly anyway, as some thieves will watch you for a number of weeks before seizing an opportunity to get your card.

When using credit cards online, look for the 'secure server' icon (normally a small padlock in the bottom right hand corner of your browser) which will indicate your card details are fully encrypted when sent. If a site does not have this, or the address doesn't start with "https", don't use it.

Try not to let your credit cards out of your site, especially when abroad or paying in restaurants. Most places will be legitimate, but it only takes one unscrupulous waiter to walk away with and copy your card and you're a victim of identity theft.

If you move house, ensure you get all your mail redirected as this is a great way for thieves to access your valuable information and use it for fraudulent purposes. Always destroy any personal documents by either shredding or ripping up into tiny pieces so anyone nosing through your rubbish bin can't get anything useful.

Lastly, never tell anyone your PIN number, especially if you receive an email or phone call asking you to do so. A reputable bank would never ask for your PIN. If you're in doubt, phone the company in question and verify any queries with them.

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