As of 2012, 72.1% of consumers had credit cards. Recent surveys show during the last five years, 27% of cardholders worldwide have been victims of credit card fraud. The credit industry is not perfect. For instance, credit card authorization and settlement processes can take up to 30 days to clear. That’s ample time for unauthorized purchases to occur.
But there are ways to protect against fraud.
1. Keep Credit Cards Safe
You should always know where your credit and debit cards are located. If you don’t keep all your cards on your person, then place them in a secure location like a safe or locked drawer.
2. Treat Cards Like Cash
Keep track of how much credit you have on your cards. Whenever possible, pay off whatever is owed. By thinking of credit cards as cash and not spending more than you have, it is easier to monitor credit activity.
3. Be Careful at ATMS
Protect against people being able to watch you enter in password information. ATM placement is important. ATM machines in less trafficked areas are more likely to be targeted by people wanting to hack the system. It is easier to bug an ATM that is not heavily watched.
4. Practice Safe Online Habits
If you shop online, make sure you use sites that have secure payment gateway integration systems. These are processing systems guaranteed to protect your information. And if you pay bills or check statements online, always logout after finishing your session.
5. Don’t Give Info Over the Phone
Unless you are speaking with a trusted company never give out your information over the phone. It is all too easy to be taken in by scam artists. Also in the event your phone conversations are being listened to, giving your credit card info over the phone will allow it to be heard by unknown individuals.
6. Total Receipts Before Signing
If you don’t wish to leave a tip on your card, be sure to indicate that on the receipt. Blank spaces provide opportunity for people to fill in whatever amount they want.
7. Activate New Cards, Destroy Old Cards
Activate replacement cards as soon as possible. After ensuring the new card is properly activated, destroy the old one. Old cards can easily be stolen.
8. Shred Documents with Credit Information
Be sure to destroy statements that contain credit information, once you are finished with them. Thieves can steal these documents and use them to commit fraud.
9. Check Statements Regularly
It’s important to compare your receipts and credit statements. By diligently keeping up with records, you’ll notice anytime an unfamiliar purchase is made. Contact your credit card company or bank if any discrepancy pops up. Remember, credit card authorization and settlement processing, along with ACH transaction processing are not instantaneous. Certain purchases may not immediately appear in your transaction history.
10. Report Stolen or Lost Credit Cards
If one of your cards goes missing, call your credit card company immediately. The company can freeze your card. An alert can also be placed on the card, so if anyone tries to use it they will be notified.
In the past five years,according to surveys, 42% of respondents in the U.S. have experienced credit card fraud. Don’t let slow credit card authorization and settlement times or misplaced cards leave you unaware. Make sure you practice the 10 steps above.