Protect yourself from credit card fraud – advice and precautions

This article provides an in-depth look at how you can protect yourself from credit fraud with information on what credit card fraud is and a comprehensive list of precautions that you should take to reduce your risk of being a victim.

Credit card fraud is defined as being the the theft and fraud involved with using a payment card (it can be a debit or credit card) as a fraudulent source of money.

Credit card fraud is a means of buying goods without paying or receiving authorization to use the funds in the account. It is a form of identity theft.

In recent years a growing problem is the theft method of Vishing (also called voice fishing). This occurs when a victim receives a call from someone pretending to be a representative from the victim’s bank.

A Vishing call will typically use an automated system that wrongly informs the victim that there is something wrong with their payment card. This is followed by the scammer telling the victim to visit a website and provide their personal account information in order to ‘verify their identity’. The identity thief can now steal their money.

Sadly, a surprising number of people are victims of Vishing scams.

A recent study revealed that far too many people trust the identity of a cold-caller asking for bank details or pretending to be their bank, with 25% of customers who are telephoned not challenging the identity of the cold-caller.

Measures to protect yourself from credit card fraud:

  • Never give your bank details to strangers.
  • Immediately report (to your bank) a lost or stolen card.
  • If possible swipe your own card when making a purchase.
  • Ensure that all your personal documents and cards are secured in a safe place.
  • Try not to keep your passwords and PIN numbers stored on your computer or written somewhere that people can break into. In fact, to be extra safe, try and memorize your bank passwords and card PIN numbers.
  • Ignore emails that offer easy ways to make money.
  • In order to completely eliminate the risk of being a victim of Vishing, when someone calls you informing you of compromised security, hang up and call the official number of your bank to be 100% certain you are talking to a real representative from your bank.
  • Be careful when accepting job offers from entities abroad as it makes it difficult to see if they are a legitimate company.
  • Keep an eye on your bank statements and if you notice any entries that you do not recall, immediately contact your bank.
  • If your bank statements do not arrive to your house then call the bank and let them know as soon as possible.
  • Only call your bank using the number that they provided to you when you opened the account or the number that the actual bank provided to you.
  • Make sure that you install the most up-to-date security software on your computer including anti-virus. If your banks offers free security software then install it.
  • Be sure that when you are shopping online you only shop on secure websites. When you are entering your payment card details check to see that the locked padlock or unbroken key symbol is showing.