Credit Card Fraud

Theft is the usually the apparent cause of credit card frauds but there may be some even when you have not lost it. There are other ways too in which credit card frauds are perpetrated. Actually there is more than one way that a thief can rob you or the issuing company.

Discarded receipts and carbons that are usually thrown away or information sought over the phone or asking information through e mails with malicious intent are two common modus operandi of thieves. A dishonest clerk too may make an extra impression and use it for making a personal charge.

Some of the following precautions will go a long way in protecting you from credit card or charge card fraud:


- As soon as the card arrives, sign at the back.

- Keep cards in a separate pouch or a card holder but not in the wallet.

- Make a list of your accounts, the issuing company's address and telephone numbers and keep it in a secure place.

- Whenever you hand over your card for a charge, keep an eye over the clerk and get it back as soon as s/he has swiped it.

- Always make it a point to cancel incorrect receipts and destroy carbons.

- Always retain receipts. As soon as the statement comes from the issuer, tally them with receipts as well as payments you have made.

- Report any unauthorized charge in writing immediately and procure an acknowledgement.

- If you plan to change residence, ensure that all issuing companies are informed well in advance.

And make sure DONOT do the following:


- Never lend your card/s to anyone: not even to a trusted individual. S/he may not be as careful as you.

- Never keep your card or receipts lying around for anyone to see. Even if you carry your card in a wallet, keep it hidden from prying eyes.

- Do not leave blank spaces when you sign a receipt. A signed receipt is just like a check. Draw a line across blank spaces.

- Do not write your card number on a postcard or on any place where it can be seen by others.

- Never give your card number on the phone unless you are sure the party on the other side is a reputed company. And never ever if somebody calls you. Remove any doubts about the company with local consumer protection office or Better Business Bureau.

This is one thing in which you should be very prompt. In the event of a loss or theft, report the fact to the issuing company immediately without losing time. Most companies have call centers with toll free numbers where you can call anytime of the day. The Law says that once you have reported the loss, you are absolved of further charges. Otherwise also, your liability is limited to $50 under Federal Law.

In the event of a fraud you may be required to sign an affidavit (declaration under oath) stating that you did not authorize the charge in question.


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