CREDIT CARD THEFT & FRAUD: YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE

Anyone who owns a credit card will confess that their worst nightmare is credit card theft and subsequent fraud. The popular TV series ‘Friends’ has an episode where Monica’s card gets stolen and the lady who steals it has a ball, doing all that she wanted to but couldn’t because of lack of money. Ultimately, though she does get caught and sent to jail, but the message is loud and clear – credit card fraud is a reality today and is the worst nightmare that can hit you.
Credit card fraud affects two people – the one who steals and the one whose card gets stolen from. While the former has a ball, the latter is the one who suffers. Imagine huge, unexplained expenses showing up on your card, with you having to foot the bill. There is no limit to the amount of damage that someone can inflict once they have your credit card details, some people can just go on and on.
With the advent of the internet, the limits of the fraud seem to have reached a new crescendo altogether. Newspapers are filled with stories day after day of people being tricked and taken for a ride in the name of buying stuff through the Internet and then using their card to pay for the same.
What, then, is the solution? There are some simple steps, which if taken, can minimize fraud and subsequent heart-burn.

STEPS TO PREVENT CREDIT CARD FRAUD

 Be careful while using your credit card. Never leave it lying around and make sure you retrieve it after every transaction
 Do not divulge your credit card information easily, especially over the telephone. Beware of people who call you, asking for your card information. Legitimate and reputed companies would never do that
 Use your credit card responsibly over the internet. Do not splash your card information over every available site. Do not respond to emails asking for your credit card information or visit a website that seeks the same. These are popular scams called phishing scams
 Be sure to sign the back of your credit card as soon as your receive it
 Shred all your credit card information after you are done with it
 Be careful with your PIN number. Do not write it anywhere and everywhere, where it can be picked up easily
 Do not borrow or lend your card to others, even if they maybe known to you
 While traveling, keep your credit cards in a separate pouch than your cash, so that the risk of loss is less. If you shift your address, make sure to notify the credit card company of your new address promptly
If, after taking care of the above, you have reason to believe a fraud has been committed using your card, notify the credit card immediately. If notified on time, you may even help in apprehending the person committing the fraud. Credit card fraud can be prevented, if you are extra careful.