Customers lose about $4.8 billion annually in credit card fraud, according to a 2009 Lexis Nexis study called The True Cost of Fraud. – Forbes
Fraud has a high cost for credit card holders. Credit card fraud can happen in both high-tech ways with insecure online forms or low-tech ways with dumpster diving. The good news is you can take precautions to protect your credit card account against those who want to steal your information.
Help prevent yourself from being a victim of fraud by following these helpful credit card protection tips:
1. Review your statements closely.
Pay close attention to your credit card statements each month, whether you receive print or online statements. Examine all your purchases—not only where you made the purchase and when, but also the amount of each purchase. Keep your credit card receipts to compare totals easily. If you have a credit card account with your spouse, do this task together each month to confirm purchases are accurate. Destroy old statements (and expired credit cards) correctly with a paper shredder.
2. Check your online account regularly.
Monitoring your online account or using your credit card company’s mobile app helps keep you in the loop. Consistently check not only individual purchases and amounts but the current total you’ve spent. In addition to keeping tabs on your credit card total, you’ll also be more conscious of spending habits. Healthy purchase behaviors are a result of careful self-monitoring. Guide your purchasing by visually checking what you’re really using your credit card to purchase throughout the month.
First PREMIER Bank card holders: check your account activity at mypremiercreditcard.com
3. Sign up for message alerts.
One of the best ways to catch fraud immediately is to sign up for message alerts for purchases. Your credit card company may have various alert options available, such as text messages or email alerts, or even automated phone calls to alert you of a suspicious purchase. Alerts let you stop fraudulent purchases right in their tracks, or confirm that purchases are correct.
Beware: fraud often happens with small, insignificant purchases at first, as thieves test cards with small purchases before making larger ones. Other handy alert features let you track spending and will warn you when you’ve reached a max spending amount or when you have a payment due.
4. Be a wise credit card user.
Being a wise credit card user will help keep you safe from thieves. Keep these best practices in mind when using your credit card for purchases:
- Only shop online with retailers you trust, and never save your credit card number during the checkout process. Don’t make online purchases over public wi-fi.
- Keep your card in line of sight when making physical purchases at a store or restaurant.
- Never write down your credit card number or share your number with others, especially people you don’t know.
- Limit the number of credit cards you carry at once in case your wallet is lost, and keep your credit cards separate from your personal identification items.
- Remember to keep a list of cards and their phone numbers for support, in case they are stolen.
- Notify your credit card company when you are traveling, especially if you’re leaving the country. They can also inform you of international fees for using your card.
- Select strong passwords for your online accounts, and don’t leave yourself logged into your accounts on computers.
5. Watch out for credit card scams.
Credit card scams are always changing and becoming more believable. Scams can happen when you least expect it. Phone scams are notorious for trying to appear to be legitimate calls from your credit card company verifying your information. Do not give your credit card number or any personal information to anyone who calls and asks for it, even if they say they are from your credit card company. When you begin your credit card account, ask how your credit card typically will contact you, as most do not call directly by phone.
Also, as your credit card company already has all your credit card information, they should not need to call to verify it. This is an immediate red flag for you to watch out for. If you’re suspicious about a scammer, hang up. Call your credit card company, verify they weren’t attempting to get a hold of you, and let them know someone is impersonating them.
Learn more about the most common types of credit card fraud.
Suspicious you’re a victim of fraud?
Contact your credit card company and any other appropriate parties immediately if you’re suspicious of fraud. They can help you close your compromised account and take the appropriate steps regarding the suspicious transactions. Your credit card company will issue a new account number
If you find unauthorized activity, you can use the First PREMIER Bank fraud contact guide to determine whom you need to contact.
This information is presented for educational purposes only. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.