When used correctly, credit cards are an effective way to manage to spend and build a better credit score. But, when misused, they can be a source of stress and financial strain. Unfortunately, plenty of scammers are eager to take advantage of people who don’t understand how credit card fraud works. In fact, the FBI estimates that cardholders lost $564 million from various types of credit card fraud in 2016 alone. So, how can you protect yourself against these nefarious individuals? With so many different types of credit card fraud, it’s impossible to cover them all. However, by following these tips you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to one of these scams:
Check your statements regularly
Before you get angry at a company for charging you an incorrect amount, remember that scammers often use stolen credit card information to make purchases or take out loans in your name. In these cases, you’ll receive a statement showing the fraudulent activity. If you don’t check your statement regularly, you could end up paying for someone else’s fraudulent purchases or miss out on the opportunity to report them to your credit card company and have the charges removed from your account. This is an important tip, as the sooner you report fraudulent activity, the easier it will be for the credit card company to recover any losses.
Be wary of unfamiliar brands and merchants
Credit card fraud primarily occurs online. This means that unfamiliar brands and websites are a major red flag. As with the above tip, if you’re unsure whether a purchase is legitimate, you’re better off declining it. If you’re buying from a website that you’ve never heard of before, be particularly careful. Scammers often create fake websites that are designed to look like legitimate ones. They don’t always get things right, so a quick Google search is a good way to check if the website is legitimate. If you’re buying from a new or unfamiliar brand, follow the same procedure. Pick up the phone and call the customer service number to make sure that the transaction is legitimate.
Be careful when using ATMs
ATMs are a convenient way to access your money, but they’re also one of the most common sources of credit card fraud. Fraudulent readers installed in ATMs can be used to record your card information. You may not even know that your card has been compromised until you receive your statement. So, what can you do to protect yourself? – Use ATMs inside banks. While this isn’t always possible, it’s your best bet. Most ATMs inside banks have security features that make it difficult to steal your information. – Cover the keypad when you type in your PIN. This prevents anyone from seeing your PIN as you enter it and then using it to withdraw money from your account. – Don’t use an ATM if it looks suspicious. If the machine looks out of place or broken, stay away.
Don’t share your PIN
As mentioned above, ATMs are a major source of credit card fraud. However, they’re not the only one. In fact, you’re more likely to be scammed through telephone or mail order fraud than an ATM. Don’t be afraid to share your card details with legitimate businesses, but don’t share your PIN code. If you’re signing up for a new service, never share your PIN. Instead, select the “credit” option and enter your details manually.
Only use trustworthy apps
If you regularly use apps to make purchases or access your accounts, you need to be careful that you’re using reputable services. By using apps to access your accounts, scammers can easily gain access to your card information. As a result, you may be hit with fraudulent charges. However, you can prevent this by only using services that are endorsed by the credit card companies. This doesn’t prevent all forms of credit card fraud, but it can help to reduce your risk of falling victim to it.
Credit card fraud is a major problem in the United States, with millions of dollars being stolen from people every year. However, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to this type of crime by following a few simple tips. First, make sure to check your statements regularly so that you can spot fraudulent activity as soon as it happens. Next, be wary of unfamiliar brands and merchants, and be careful when using ATMs. Finally, only use trustworthy apps to access your account and always keep your PIN secret. With these tips in mind, you can significantly reduce your risk of becoming a victim of credit card fraud.