Today are hard times to live by. With criminals wrecking havoc all around the world, you cannot completely rely on the police but also need to put some personal measures to protect your card. This ensures that what you fear will not happen in the first place.
Here are some things you can do to protect your card:
Protecting your card and account number:
- Caution! Mail and telephone solicitations bring many tempting offers, but not all are legitimate. Be especially careful about deals which sound too good to be true, and don’t give callers your card number unless you want them to charge your account.
- Be wary of high-pressures sales tactics, especially if the sale must be done now.
- Record the name, address, and phone number of the firm.
- Obtain names of other customers who can supply references.
- When in doubt, consult the Better Business Bureau or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
- Ask questions. The fewer questions the telemarketer can answer, the less likely that it is a legitimate business.
- Do not give your account number over the phone unless you initiated the call.
- Memorize your personal identification number (PIN). Don’t write it down in your wallet or on the back of the card. Don’t designate the same PIN for all your cards, and don’t designate a number such as your birth date, that can be found easily in your wallet.
- If someone calls you claiming to be a bank representative and asks for your PIN number, don’t give it to them. Report it to your bank and the police.
- Never leave your cards unattended – at work, at your sports club, in a shop, or in doctor’s office, Don’t leave your credit cards in your car’s glove compartment,. An alarmingly high proportion of all credit card thefts are from car glove compartments. Don’t lend your card. You are responsible for its use. Some credit card misuse can be traced directly to family and friends.
- Protect your cards at all times. Travel can be expensive and inconvenient if your card is stolen,Always check your card when you get it back in a store or restaurant. It’s easy for you to forget your card when you’re in a hurry. It’s easy for waiters or sales people to give you the wrong card when they’re in a hurry.
- Carry your cards with you when you travel. When you can’t, for instance at the beach, put them in the hotel or motel safe. Never leave your cards in your hotel room, not even in a suitcase.
- If an overseas merchant quotes a price converted into U.S. dollars, be sure you compute the exchange rate, too, to ensure accuracy and avoid any misunderstanding. Save your receipt to compare against your statement.
- Know where your credit card is during your holiday shopping. If your card is missing call your card Issuer’s Customer Service number.
- Report a lost or stolen card to the issuing institution immediately. Most fraudulent use of cards takes place within a few days of their being lost or stolen.
- f your wallet is stolen, be aware that a driver’s license and major credit card are often all a thief needs to open charge accounts in your name, To prevent what could be a credit nightmare, ask the credit bureaus to place a “fraud alert” on your file. After that, any future credit applications will have to be confirmed by you over the phone.
- Sign the back of a new card as soon as you get it. If you don’t, a thief could sign it for you – and use it.
- Make a comprehensive list of all your cards and their numbers. Store it in a safe place. (Your wallet is not a safe place.) This is key information you’ll need to report lost or stolen cards.
- You’ll also need the phone number to call, and your card’s expiration date. So list these too.
- Only carry the cards you need immediately, in case of theft or loss.
- If you aren’t using your cards, lock them up. Limiting the number of cards you carry limits the potential for fraud.
- Periodically check your cards to make sure none are missing.
- Destroy unwanted cards so no one can use them.
- Always check your monthly statement.
- Keep your sales slips, and check them off against your monthly statement to make sure no one else has used your card, or your sales draft wasn’t altered by a dishonest merchant.
- Report any errors or unknown charges immediately.
- Destroy your billing statement before you discard it, to prevent your account information from falling into the wrong hands.
- Know when your statement is due and contact your bank immediately if you don’t receive it on time.
- Always take your charge slips and destroy the carbons if present.
- Don’t carelessly discard or leave in the open documents that contain your personal information – including account numbers – such as car rental agreements, airline ticket coupons, or your billing statements and inquiries.
- Never write your card number on a post card or on the outside of an envelope.
- Never mail a post card with personal information, such as birth date, social security number, or account number, on it. Always place it in a sealed envelope before mailing.
- Destroy unused pre-approved credit applications before discarding them.
- When using a telephone credit card in a public place, shield the keypad with your hand or body.
To avoid being taken by misleading credit card schemes:
- Beware of promotions that promise credit cards regardless of your previous credit history. Beware of up-front application or processing fees.
- Beware of promotions that require you to call 900 numbers for information. A fee will be charged to your telephone bill that will be difficult to remove. Don’t be fooled by promotional materials that look “professional.” Read the small print to fully understand the offer.
- Don’t be fooled by promotional names that resemble well-known credit cards or banks. Don’t be fooled by artwork on offers that resembles the insignia of well-known credit cards or banks.
- When applying for a card, check the return address of the card issuer. If there is a sticker with a return address placed on the application, contact the card-issuing company to verify the correct address.
- Be wary if you sign with a company for “credit card registration and protection,” to notify all your accounts if your cards are lost or stolen. Read the contract carefully – will you be reimbursed if you notify them properly but they fail to notify your card issuer on time ?
- Notify the post office immediately if you change your address.
- Make sure your mailbox is secure, and promptly remove mail.
- If you are not receiving mail, call the post office immediately. Some crooks will forge your signature and have your mail forwarded elsewhere, for the purpose of obtaining information that will allow them to apply for credit in your name.
- If you are told of a forwarding order placed on your mail without your knowledge, go to the post office to check the signature and cancel the order. Ask the post office to track down the forwarded mail – it can remain in the postal system for up to 14 days so may not yet have landed in the criminal’s hands.