Credit card scams and identity-thefts are a huge business for fraudsters. Did you know? According to Javelin Strategy and Research, over $16 billion was stolen from 12.7 million identity fraud victims in 2014 alone? What preventative measures can we take to ensure identity theft doesn’t happen to us? Here are 9 simple ways.
1. Change to a chip: Ensure your credit/debit card has a chip. EMV (stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa) is a global standard for credit and debit cards, equipped with chip technology. It is expected that the new technology will protect consumers from scammers. EMV cards are only enough to fight with scammers.
2. Read your credit card statement: Read your credit card statements every month. Give special attention to the current balance, credit limit, the last date to pay your credit card bill, reward points, etc. Read each section of the statement carefully. Purchases you haven’t made should be clear to you instantly. You should report the fraudulent charges to the credit card company as soon as possible.
3. Tear your personal documents: Purchase a shredder and tear your important but outdated financial papers (credit card applications, bank statements) into pieces. Once done, toss the shredded documents into the trash.
4. Change your access details: Do you work on a public computer often? If yes, then it’s better to change your access details every month. Public computers are more vulnerable to identity-theft attacks. So, you must change your username and password regularly.
5. Have a look at your bank statement: Just like credit card statements, you need to monitor your bank statements as well. If you spot anything unusual, then approach the bank and clarify your doubts immediately. You can also contact the bank if they’re not sending you statements for a few months.
6. Take care of your computer: Install a good anti-virus and anti-spyware software in your computer. Update the anti-virus and software regularly. This may help to stop scammers from attacking your computer.
7. Avoid pre-approved offers: Identity-thieves often send pre-approved credit card offers to consumers via email. These offers usually ask you to fill in your credit card information, which is then used to steal your identity or on unauthorized purchases.
9. Keep your SSN private: Your SIN (SSN in the States) is the trump card for an identity thief. He can use this trump card to open a credit card account in your name. If you don’t want to get into a similar kind of situation, then it’s better not to keep it in your wallet. Never ever give this number to anyone unless it is absolutely necessary.
What to do if you have lost your credit card
The first step you need to take is report your loss within 24 hours to the credit card company. Once you report your loss, you’d have no liability for the theft.
Even for the new EMV credit cards, you need to report fraudulent charges to the bank. Here also, you don’t have any liability for the charges. The retailer or the merchant will be held responsible for the fraudulent transaction.
Your second step would be to ask the credit bureau to flag your credit report with a fraud alert. Request the credit bureau to insert a statement on your credit report stating that creditors must not create a new account in your name without informing you. They should get your permission first.
The above article was written by Stacy Barbee. Stacy is a writer, blogger and a content marketing enthusiast. She uses content to vent out her thoughts on money and financial issues. In the last few years, she has written several articles for top-notch websites including OVLG. And when she is not developing content, she is busy in looking after her adorable family.