With credit card theft and fraud constantly on the rise, it is
inevitable to panic that this might happen to you as well. Or maybe
it has already happened to you and you do not feel very happy about
the convenience of credit cards because you have already experienced
some of their disadvantages. Though even if you take all the
necessary precautions to avoid credit card debt
and fraud, there
is never a guarantee that none of them will happen to you but if you
are careful and know how to protect your credit card, it is less
likely that you will become a victim of credit card theft and fraud.
For instance, if you follow these simple rules, you can minimize the
risk of credit card theft and fraud:
Keep an eye on your credit cards. Yes, it is really as
simple as this. If you don't know where physically your credit cards
are, you will not even know they are stolen. Your credit card is
your money and you are responsible for it and also for all the
transactions with it before you declare it missing. If you have many
credit cards, it can be a challenging task to keep an eye on all of
them. Maybe it will be easier to have a personal safe and keep them
there when you don't use them?
Don't carry all your credit cards with you. If you
think that the best way to keep an eye on your credit cards is by
carrying them with you all the time, think twice. It is much better
to keep the cards you use rarely somewhere safe than to carry all
your wealth in your purse. You see, if your purse gets stolen, you
If possible, carry your credit cards not in your purse.
As already mentioned, when you carry all your credit cards in your
purse and it gets stolen, you will lose everything – money,
credit cards, driver's license, other documents. While it might be
more convenient to have everything in one place (i.e. your purse),
carrying your credit cards and documents separately (in another
purse or a credit card holder), is much better.
Don't write your PIN on post-it notes, envelopes, sheets
of paper, etc. Things get even worse when those who have your
cards, know your PIN as well. So, as a safety measure, never write
your PIN on anything, where it can be easily seen.
Don't tell your PIN to anybody, including friends and
relatives. Your card is your personal property (and
responsibility), so even if you have friends and relatives whom you
trust absolutely, it is none of their business to know your PIN.
Change your PIN frequently. Even when you keep your
PIN top secret and you have not told it to anybody, you need to
change it frequently. And when you suspect that somebody might have
learned it, change your PIN immediately!
Do not lend your credit card. Again, your credit card
is your personal property and responsibility, so you mustn't lend it
to anybody else, no matter how close he or she is. Your credit card
is an important document and you need to keep it private. You
wouldn't lend to anybody your identity card, would you?
Be careful to whom you provide your credit card
information. Although the whole credit card system is hardly
fraud-proof, the less people know your credit card number, the
smaller the risk of fraud is. If you provide your credit card number
only to legitimate organizations, the risk is smaller, although
Don't respond to scam emails and don't visit suspicious
sites. Emails and phone calls that ask your for your credit card
number are always to be avoided. Also, never answer e-mails that
tell you to go to a site and verify your information. And never go
to sites that tell you that you need to
confirm/reenter/change/verify your credit card information.
Legitimate organizations almost never ask their customers for this
Destroy all incorrect receipts that have your credit card
number on them. Do not leave documents – receipts,
incorrect receipts, carbon copies, statements, etc. - in an
accessible place. If you need the document, put it into your
archive; if you don't – don't just through it away, first
shred it to pieces.
Shred all credit cards that you do not use anymore.
Besides unnecessary documents with your credit card number on them,
another piece that needs shredding before disposing is the credit
card itself. Shred all cards that you are not using anymore and only
after that throw them away.
Keep all your receipts in order and in a secure place.
After you have shred all unnecessary credit cards and documents,
arrange the rest and put them in a secure place.
Never sign blank receipts. Trusting people is great
but signing blank receipts (i.e. without the amount written on it)
is simply asking for trouble, so don't do it under any
Notify credit card issuers of address changes asap. If
you change the address (home, office, P. O. Box) at which you
receive your monthly statements, notify your credit card issuers
asap because otherwise they will still be mailed to your old
address, where somebody else will get them and might open them.
Read carefully your monthly statements. We can't
overemphasize how important this is! Even if your card is not
physically stolen, you can still be charged for unauthorized
transactions, if you have not noticed them on your monthly statement
and reported them to the issuer. Remember, reading your monthly
statements is one of the most powerful weapons against credit card