Credit Fraud Can Strike At Any Time -
Don't Become A Victim
Avoiding Credit and Charge Card Fraud
Credit and charge card fraud costs cardholders and issuers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. While theft
is the most obvious form of fraud, it can occur in other ways. For example, someone may use your card number without your knowledge.
It's not always possible to prevent credit or charge card fraud from happening. But there are a few steps you can take
to make it more difficult for a crook to capture your card or card numbers and minimize the possibility.
Guarding Against Fraud
Here are some tips to help protect yourself from credit and charge card fraud.
- Sign your cards as soon as they arrive.
- Carry your cards separately from your wallet, in
a zippered compartment, a business card holder, or
another small pouch.
- Keep a record of your account numbers, their expiration
dates, and the phone number and address of each company
in a secure place.
- Keep an eye on your card during the transaction,
and get it back as quickly as possible.
- Void incorrect receipts.
- Destroy carbons.
- Save receipts to compare with billing statements.
- Open bills promptly and reconcile accounts monthly,
just as you would your checking account.
- Report any questionable charges promptly and in
writing to the card issuer.
- Notify card companies in advance of a change in
- Lend your card(s) to anyone.
- Leave cards or receipts lying around.
- Sign a blank receipt. When you sign a receipt, draw
a line through any blank spaces above the total.
- Write your account number on a postcard or the outside
of an envelope.
- Give out your account number over the phone unless
you're making the call to a company you know is reputable.
If you have questions about a company, check it out
with your local consumer protection office or Better
Reporting Losses and Frad
If you lose your credit or charge cards or if you realize they've been lost or stolen, immediately call the issuer(s). Many companies
have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service to deal with such emergencies. By law, once you report the loss or theft, you have no further
responsibility for unauthorized charges. In any event, your maximum liability under federal law is $50 per card.
If you suspect fraud, you may be asked to sign a statement under oath that you did not make the purchase(s) in question.
For More Information
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive
and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information
to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a
complaint or to get free
information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov
or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The
FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related
Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil
and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.