Credit Card Fraud

Nothing is more frustrating and frightening than getting a call from your credit card company wondering why you chose to go out on a Wednesday afternoon and ring up a five thousand dollar credit card debt on frivolous items from stores you usually never visit. The scary part is that most of us have actually received this call, informing us that we have been a victim of credit card fraud, at least once in our lives.

Credit card fraud can occur in a variety of ways and you don’t necessarily have to have your wallet stolen to become a victim. Recently some of the most popular forms of credit card fraud have involved online merchants being victimized as well as the growing problem of identity theft.

Though people who purchase things online are often wary of giving their credit card numbers to online merchants, it is actually more often the merchant who is susceptible to credit card fraud. Most people who have their credit stolen are not held responsible for any charges rung up by a thief, but unfortunately when an online merchant becomes a victim of credit card fraud, they are more often than not made to eat the cost of being ripped off by a scam artist.

Tips for Online Merchants:

  • Ask for mailing addresses and telephone numbers from all customers and verify them before making a sale.
  • Never except postal boxes as a mailing address, instead insist on the customer’s home address.
  • Request a fax of front and back of credit card used for purchase.

Consumers with credit cards have to be equally as diligent as online merchants, especially with identity theft on the rise.

Identity theft occurs when a thief collects any or all of your personal information and uses it illegally for their own benefit. This information can include your name, date of birth, address, credit card information and anything else that will help the thief to establish a new version of themselves to get a job, open a bank account and most often ring up thousands of dollars in debt under your name.

In order to protect yourself from becoming a victim of this sort of scam it is important to be careful when you give out any personal information.

Tips to Preventing Identity Theft:

  • When you give out personal information make sure it is to a well-known, reputable company.
  • Ask who will have access to your information and how it will be safeguarded.
  • Pay close attention to your bills and the times they arrive each month. If you are missing utility or credit card bills immediate contact the companies that you deal with to see what the problem is.
  • Choose difficult passwords for each of your bank accounts and make sure that they aren’t written down somewhere that a thief may have access to them.
  • Shred up paid bills, old credit cards and other mail that contains valuable personal information. Thieves aren’t opposed to dumpster-diving.

Even though credit card fraud is a serious crime, it is often extremely difficult for the authorities to locate the person who is trying to rip you off so it is essential that you take the necessary precautionary measures to ensure that you don’t become a victim of credit card fraud.