Credit Card Protection Tips

Credit card fraud is a serious problem. Credit card fraud causes an estimated $1 Billion loss, annually, in the United States. The consumer pays for this fraud by way of higher finance charges, annual fees and increased cost of law enforcement. To protect yourself against credit card fraud, consider the following:

Protect Your Bills And Credit Cards:
Unscrupulous scam artists raid mailboxes to gather renewal credit cards and bills in order to obtain information. Be aware of when such information is due to arrive in your mailbox. Sign new cards as soon as they arrive. Destroy old cards. Cut up and return unwanted cards to the issuer. Keep a record of your credit card numbers in a secure place. Include in that record the expirations of the cards as well as all contact information for the issuers. Check your cards to be sure none are missing. After using your card, take it back promptly and make sure the card is yours. Never sign a blank receipt and draw lines through any blank lines above a Total Amount.

Guard Your Credit Card Number:
Do not give your credit card out over the phone unless you are sure you are dealing with a company whom you have done business with before. Memorize your PIN number and do not keep a written copy of it near your credit cards.

Safety Tips When Using Your Credit Card:
Destroy carbon copies and voided receipts immediately. Check your bill against receipts which you have kept in a secure place. If you are not using a credit card, destroy it immediately. While on a trip, carry the name of the issuer, account number and toll free number of the issuer in a secure place. Note the date, time and name of the person to whom you reported a card being lost or stolen.

Reporting Losses And Fraud:
If you lose your credit or charge cards, or if you realize they've been stolen, immediately call the issuer(s). Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24 hour customer service for such emergencies. By law, once you report the loss or theft of a card, you are no longer accountable for any charges made on that card. In any event, your maximum liability, under Federal law, is $50.00. If you suspect fraud, you may be asked to sign a statement, under oath, that you did not make the purchase(s) in question. It does take time time and effort to fight the credit card companies in order to reverse any unauthorized charges.

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