• Fight Credit Card Fraud with Common Sense


    By now, you have undoubtedly heard of credit card fraud, an alarming and damaging trend that is sweeping the country. Here's the bad news: It is disturbingly easy for thieves to obtain your credit card number--usually from discarded receipts or even directly from you. For instance, many solicitors masquerade as legitimate businesspeople--like those who offer vacation packages, for instance--when, in fact, they're looking for you to innocently hand over your credit card number so they can rack up illegal charges.

    The good news is that there are many ways you can proactively and effectively protect yourself against credit card fraud:

    -If your credit card has been lost or stolen, report it immediately to the card issuer. You are not obligated to pay for unauthorized charges once you report the loss.

    -Sign new cards immediately once they arrive in the mail. Once you receive them, carry them in a separate case from your wallet.

    -Notify credit card companies if you are about to move, either temporarily or permanently.

    -Don't let your credit card out of your sight-not even for a minute-when you're using it. It only takes ten seconds for someone to covertly write down your account number and name.

    -Things to destroy: Carbon copies and incorrect receipts. Things to keep in a safe place: A record of account numbers and legitimate receipts for comparison to billing statements.

    -Don't sign blank credit card receipts. Draw a line through blank portions of the receipt where bogus charges can be added.

    Above all, don't forget to use common sense when you're dealing with your credit card. Don't lend your card to anybody. Don't carry around cards you rarely use. And never, ever write your account number where someone can see it? not even on an envelope! You CAN prevent credit card fraud from happening to you and your loved ones by following these simple practices.

    Beth West has an extensive background in marketing and public relations, serving in management positions in both the hospitality and software industries. Currently acting as the Director of Marketing for InformedCredit, Beth is also trying to launch a freelance writing business.


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