How Safe Is Your Credit Card?

by : Ryan Smith

Probably some of the most common crimes in the USA today are credit card theft and credit card fraud. Most of the time, the two crimes are considered one. This is especially true online.

While physical robbery of a credit card is a part of this crime, it is only a small part. Theft of credit card numbers are far more easily done and more proliferate in today's society. It can occur in a situation as simple as ordering a pizza. Or paying for a dinner, or purchasing items in a retail outlet. It can even happen online or in any situation where the card need not be swiped.

All that is really needed is the number and the key code located on the back of the card and the thief can begin making illegal purchases. The theft of the credit card can have far reaching implications like taking out loans, rent a house, and even attain citizenship through fraudulent means. In short, stealing a credit card can be identical to stealing someone's identity.

All of this can mean awhole lot of trouble for the card owner down the road. Should their credit card be used to commit some other crimes, then the card owner could be asked many awkward questions. It can damage the owner's credit rating, and damage any future chances for a loan. It may even have a negative impact on the card owner's job prospects.

The least of these negative impacts will be that the card owner will have to pay for charges that they never made. Though, to my understanding, the credit card companies are getting more active about these fraudulent charges.

The first step to be taken in protecting your credit card, is to trust noone with it. Not friends, not family. Noone. This will go along way in ensuring that your card number does not fall into the wrong hands.

The second step it to never reveal your card number publicly. Do not IM it and not over the phone. If you are asked to verify your account by your credit card company, use alternate information such as your birthdate.

The third step is to destroy all credit card statements(and all financial statements) once they are paid and duly accounted for. This can be done properly by using a shredder. The best ones to use are cross cut shredders. A good rule of thumb is the smaller the pieces it makes, the better off you are.

The fourth step is to insist on online banking. This will ensure that your bank statements come to you and noone else. Always use land lines for security instead of wireless. It is always easier to protect your online statements than the one you get in the mail.

The fifth step is never do business with a website that cannot be trusted. Scammers tend to have cheap looking sites which does not have any form of secure payment method. Furthermore, ensure there is some sort of guarantee and that you have the means to return the merchandise if it is damaged.

The final step is to check your credit card statements carefully. If you see any charges you are not sure of, don't hesitate to ask. It is always better to be safe than sorry.