Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Credit Card Theft

"You want 21 percent risk free? Pay off your credit cards." - Andrew Tobias

I was recently defrauded of my credit card in a local eating establishment, or at least I believe that is where it occurred. I have since been cleared and made whole by my financial institution.

So what could go wrong?

As it is, you've been out shopping during the day spending part of that bonus from work. It is much easier to carry a credit card rather then cash. So conveniently we pull out our credit cards.

You head home and while thinking about it over night, you decide that to really go back and get that one other item. So two days later you head back out to the store, pick up the item and attempt to use your credit card.

But your credit card is denied.

The card is over its limit but you are sure there is plenty of room left. You call the credit card company and find that several unauthorized purchases have occurred. None of these purchases were yours and now you have joined the ranks of credit card theft.

Its hurtful, its stressful and its just a big pain.

I have had this happen along with identify theft some years ago. I have known people who have had the same things happen as well. So what can you do to limit the probability of this happening?

Use cash only is the safest answer.

But reality means this will not always work due to credit card requirements for many things such as rental cars, hotels, etc. And a search of the internet can provide a vast array of solutions and tips to safe guard your credit card.

Utmost in all of the rules is to safe guard, your credit card number. Anyone who gets this number can pretty much buy what they want...so protect that number.

Ensure you are safely purchasing both online (internet) and offline (store). Check to ensure the website is secure and look for that 'closed lock' at the bottom of the screen although crooks are pretty sophisticated these days.

And don't send your card information via email, this is terribly insecure and can be intercepted.

With offline (store) purchases, keep an eye on the waiter or salesperson to ensure they are not writing down your card number. And last, try not to give out your card number over the phone unless absolutely necessary.

Be wary of identity theft by keeping track of your identification papers, etc. While protecting yourself, do the following;

- Keep PIN numbers secret and don't let your small children type them in at the ATM.
- Keep photocopies of the front and back of credit/debit cards...but not in your wallter.
- Cross check your credit card statements and report any discrepancies immediately.
- In the event of credit card loss or theft, report it immediately.

Most of all, be alert.

It isn't a huge effort or task to protect yourself. Just stay alert when using and taking care of its usage. Doing so will help prevent the grief you'll endure otherwise.

Stay inspired my friends and be safe!

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