For most people, discovering that someone has made purchases using their credit cards without their knowledge (or authorization) is enough to fill them with panic. However, there are specific protections that can help you recover your money if you ever become a victim of card fraud. But more importantly, there are steps you can take to avoid it altogether. Here’s the information you need to know.
What are the different kinds of card fraud that I should be aware of?
Traditionally, the easiest way for a thief to commit card fraud has been to steal your actual credit cards and use them to make purchases in your name. However, with the constant advancement of technology, card fraud methods have become more sophisticated.
You should be aware of your surroundings whenever you use your credit card or ATM card at cash machines to make sure that no one is looking over your shoulder. However, a more modern trick that fraudsters have learned is to install their own card readers within cash machine slots so that they can steal your card info from its magnetic strip without you even knowing. These same criminals may also install overhead cameras to record you typing in your PIN number.
Email and phone scams are another common way for fraud perpetrators to get your card information. Many times, unsuspecting card users will unknowingly offer their account information to total strangers pretending to be from their banks.
How can I protect my financial information from credit card fraud?
There are basic steps that you can take to protect your card information, such as shredding your paper bank statements and knowing where your card is at all times. Also, you should never share your PIN number with anyone.
However, to keep up with the methods that fraudsters use to try to gain access to your money, you should also exercise caution at all cash machines. And it is better to use only cash machines inside buildings, since they are less likely to be tampered with.
You should be well-versed in your bank’s policy on contacting you to make sure that you don’t fall prey to fake messages from criminals claiming to be your bank. Usually, you can set your own preferences for how your bank will get in touch with you (via telephone or via email) and for what kinds of messages you will receive from your bank.
Lastly, make sure that you know when to expect your paper statements to be delivered in the post. If they do not show up on time, you should contact your bank to inquire about their delivery status, so that you can eliminate the possibility of someone else using those statements to commit identity theft. You can stay up-to-date on the best ways to protect your financial information by visiting Rate Supermarket.
What should I do if I suspect that I am a victim of card fraud?
The very first thing you should do is contact your bank and let them know that you have noticed suspicious activity on your account. To make filing a claim easier, there are several pieces of information that you should have ready, including the last charge that you made on your card, the amount of the charge, and the location of the merchant that processed the purchase. This will help your bank determine when the fraudulent activity began.
If your bank finds that fraud was committed using your card, they can contact the police. However, if your card was physically stolen, you should contact both the bank and the police.
The possibility of credit card fraud is always a disturbing thought. However, if you know how to avoid it and what to do if it should happen to you, you can get one step ahead of would-be thieves and keep your money safe.