American Express
Bad Credit
Balance Transfers
Bank of America
Capital One
Credit Facts
Credit Offer Changes
Instant Approval
New Card Announcements
Popular Credit Cards
Student Credit

Sign In

Add This Blog to your Technorati Favorites

Subscribe to our RSS Feed

Credit Card Blog - Credit Card Safety Tips

 Monday, 18 September 2006

Credit cards are one of the great conveniences of modern life.  They eliminate the need to carry around large amounts of cash for large purchases or emergencies.  They make it possible to make online and mail order purchases without having to wait for the post office to send your check to the merchant.  All of this power creates new risks to your finances.  Fortunately, it’s easy to protect yourself with just a few simple steps.

First:  Keep a copy of your credit card number and the issuer’s phone number somewhere safe – i.e. not in your wallet.  This is in case your credit card is lost or stolen you can report it quickly.  This is especially important when you go on vacation as you won’t have easy access to a copy of your billing statement.  Also, make sure that strangers will not have access to this information – i.e. keep it locked up.

 Second:  If your credit card is lost or stolen, report it to the issuer immediately.  Yes, your credit card agreement probably says you are only liable for $50 of any charges the thief makes, but this is usually contingent upon you reporting the loss in a timely manner.  Besides, you cannot use your credit card in physical stores unless you have the actual card and your card issuer will not send you a new one unless you report the loss.

Third:  Do not give out your credit card number to any company that calls you out of the blue.  Sure, they could be a legitimate company offering legitimate services, but you have no way of knowing that.  They very well could be a scammer that just wants your credit card number so they can either use it or resell it.  If the company has a product that you want to purchase, look them up in the phone book and check with the Better Business Bureau.  If it is a charity, have them send you a donation card in the mail.  Any reputable charity will do so.  While you are waiting for the card, do a little research on the charity.  Check them out with the Better Business Bureau’s charity division.  If they check out with the BBB, then you can contact them and make your purchase or donation.

Fourth:  Monitor your statement closely.  Look for any charges that you did not make.  If you are sure you did not make them, report them to your credit card issuer.  This is similar to the recommendation to monitor your credit report once or twice per year, but you can and should check your credit card statement every month.

Fifth:  When you use your card in public try to keep the number hidden.  Thieves will try to get your credit card number any way they can.  That includes looking over your shoulder and memorizing it while you are in line at the store.  An easy way to keep the number hidden is to keep your finger over the numbers on one side and keep the other side close to your body.  A better way is to keep the card in your wallet as long as possible and put it right back in your wallet as soon as you can.

Sixth:  Shred your statements and receipts when you dispose of them.  Dumpster diving is a great source of personal info and your credit card statements have your credit card number of them.  Before you put your statements in the trash, shred them.  A shredder that cuts paper into little bits of confetti is preferable to one that just cuts strips.  Strips are relatively easy to reassemble into a readable piece of paper.  With bits of confetti, it is much more difficult.  If you want to be really safe, you should probably burn the bits of confetti, but most thieves will move on to an easier target rather than trying to collect and reassemble the bits of your statement.

It may sound like a lot of work, but it boils down to keeping your credit card number out of the hands of people who have no legitimate need to have it.  Would you hand out your Social Security Number to just anyone?  Of course not.  Treat your credit card number the same sort of protection.  With these few simple steps, you can protect yourself and your credit from thieves. 


Monday, 18 September 2006 17:41:22 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #     
Credit  | 
Credit card information posted on this page is subject to change without notice and may not reflect current pricing, fee or rate information as dictated by the issuing bank of the credit card offer(s) featured. In order to ensure that you are viewing the most current information available, please see the full credit card review of any card listed on this page before making the decision to apply for that card. For additional information about this or any other posting made on the Your Credit Network Credit Card Blog, please contact us by clicking here.